When you think of spaghetti and meatballs, quintessential Italian comfort food comes to mind, right? It turns out that, though the meatballs are authentically Italian, the dish is largely considered an American creation. Italian immigrant restaurant owners added the pasta as an afterthought in order to appeal to cultures that typically had a carbohydrate side dish with each meal.
One of the consistent themes in Italian cooking that carries over to this Americanized dish is the use of simple ingredients. A couple cans of tomatoes, a few fresh herbs, some garlic, and a slug of wine later? Suddenly you've suddenly got a tangy, rich sauce that tastes slow cooked. When you add the baked meatballs (and the delicious bits from the bottom of the pan) to the sauce? Bellisimo!
2 28 oz cans San Marzano crushed tomatoes
1 cup red wine (lambrusco or merlot preferrably)
1 shallot, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh basil, chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (can be omitted if you don't like the spicy)
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper
- Saute shallot and garlic for 2 minutes over medium heat in a large sauce pan with olive oil.
- Add tomato, red pepper flakes and wine.
- Simmer over low heat while you prep the meatballs.
1/2 lb Italian sausage, de-cased (Mild or spicy. Your call)
1/2 lb ground beef (80/20)
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 tsp oregano, minced
1/2 tsp thyme, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
- Add all ingredients into a mixing bowl (except salt and pepper).
- Combine thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Roll the meat into balls slightly larger than golf balls
- Place on a baking sheet
- Once meat balls are rolled, place them in the oven for 15 minutes until the outside is browned.
- Once the meatballs are done, add them to the sauce.
- Be sure to get any delicious brown bits (but not the grease) from the bottom of the pan.
- Add the remaining fresh spices from the sauce recipe to the sauce.
- Simmer another 20 minutes in the sauce to ensure the meatballs are not raw.
- Serve over your favorite type of cooked spaghetti