meatballs

Spaghetti & Meatballs

I love a big plate of spaghetti and meatballs with buttery garlic bread and a glass of red wine. However, meatballs can be disappointing if they aren’t done right. If they are cooked too long they become dry and tend to crumble. To keep them moist I combine a little day old bread and milk with the meat and poach them in the sauce until they are just cooked through.  Although it isn’t traditional, I also like to add cream and nutmeg to the sauce for a little sweetness as I would to a Bolognese.

This recipe makes a lot of meatballs but the leftovers make great sandwiches and they freeze well if want to save them for another day.

Meatballs

  • 3/4 lb ground veal
  • 3/4 lb ground beef
  • 3/4 lb ground mild Italian sausage
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 slices white bread, crusts removed
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp nutmeg

Mix bread and milk in a small bowl and set aside. Combine remaining ingredients before adding bread mixture and mix well.

Form  meat mixture in to balls. I like to make them about 1 1/2 inches thick which makes about 24 meatballs. Refrigerate them for about 25 minutes while you prepare your ingredients for the sauce.

Sauce

  • 1 small yellow onion quartered
  • 1 large carrot, pealed
  • 2 garlic cloves, skin removed
  • 1 28 ounce can tomato puree
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Chop carrot, onion and garlic in a food processor until smooth and set aside.

Heat a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat. Add two tablespoons of oil and heat until smoking. Add one layer of meatballs and brown well. This takes about 6 minutes. Set browned meatballs aside while you repeat this step until all your meatballs are nice and brown.

Add the vegetable mixture to the pot and cook until it begins to brown. Add fresh thyme, nutmeg and tomato paste. Saute for 1 minute then add the red wine, scraping up all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the tomato puree and mix well. Bring up to a simmer cook the sauce for about 15 minutes to bring all of the flavors together. Gently add your meatballs to the sauce and simmer on low for 15 minutes until meatballs are just cooked through. Remove the top and add the cream. Stir gently and let simmer for another 5 minutes then add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over spaghetti with parmesan and garlic bread.

meatballs