It turns out, not everyone thinks of the spaghetti and meatballs version of “On Top of Old Smokey” when they think of spaghetti and meatballs. And no, not one single meatball met it’s fate by rolling on the floor and out the door from someone sneezing. It was all good, happy meatball eating, y’all. Try these soon. I think you’ll be pleased.
Two 35-ounce cans plum tomatoes with their liquid (or two 28-ounce cans + one 14-ounce can; just make sure you total 70 ounces in canned plum tomatoes)
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 dried bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
Ingredients for the meatballs:
1 pound ground beef
1 cup dry breadcrumbs, finely crumbled
1 cup freshly grated parmesan
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 large egg, beaten
all-purpose flour for dredging
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 pound spaghetti (or favorite pasta)
To prepare the sauce, heat ¼ cup olive oil in heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for about 4 minutes.
Pour in tomatoes (with their liquid), along with the red pepper flakes, bay leaves. Stir together. Bring to barely a simmer, and using a potato masher or fork, mash the heck out of the tomatoes. Stir.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Bring to a full simmer and let cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings to preference. Continue to cook over low heat.
To prepare the meatballs, loosely crumble the beef into a large bowl. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs, ⅓ cup grated parmesan, chopped parsley, garlic, salt and pepper over the beef. Add the beaten egg, and using clean hands, GENTLY combine ingredients. Try not to mash the ingredients together. I think the meatball texture is much better when they are not mashed to death.
Shape the mixture into 1½ inch meatballs.
Lightly dredge the meatballs in the flour until evenly coated, and place on a baking sheet or plate.
In a heavy skillet over medium-high, heat ¼ cup olive oil and ¼ cup vegetable oil.
Cooking in batches, add meatballs into the skillet without crowding. Fry each batch for about 6 minutes, turning to brown all sides of each meatball. Adjust heat to prevent over-browning. Place browned meatballs on paper towel lined surface.
Once all meatballs are browned, add to prepared sauce, gently stirring to coat meatballs with sauce. Continue to cook for about 30 minutes until meatballs are cooked through (no pink remaining in center).
Cook spaghetti or preferred pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and serve topped with sauce and meatballs.