The Ultimate Spaghetti & Meatballs

 I've got to confess something to you - I'm not a big Spaghetti & Meatballs fan. I would much rather have a meat sauce than have a meatless sauce over meatballs and pasta... weird, I know! I think this recipe has changed my mind though! I would willingly choose this spaghetti & meatballs over spaghetti with meat sauce any day. Tyler Florence is good like that - his recipes are always so delicious that he will have you hooked on something you didn't even think you liked!

 If you want your socks knocked off, make the homemade pomodoro sauce too! Its worth the extra effort. But even if you don't have time and end up using a storebought sauce, this recipe is still going to leave you wanting more!

Pomodoro Sauce
Recipe adapted from Tyler's Ultimate cookbook

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 - 28 oz cans whole, peeled tomatoes, with juices, crushed by hand
  • kosher salt & freshly grated black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the vegetables are soft, 4-5 minutes. Carefully add the crushed tomatoes and their juices and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Cook until the sauce is thick, about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Bring to a boil, stirring for a few minutes with a wooden spoon to further break up the tomatoes. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 20-30 minutes. Stir in the fresh basil and season again to taste.
 The Ultimate Spaghetti & Meatballs
Recipe adapted from Tyler's Ultimate cookbook

  • kosher salt
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 thick slices firm white bread, crusts removed and cut into cubes (about 2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground pork
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups heated pomodoro sauce, or good quality jarred tomato sauce
  • 1/2 lb mozzarella cheese, grated
  • leaves from 3 fresh basil sprigs
  • 1 lb spaghetti
  1. Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil for the spaghetti.
  2. Heat 3 tbsp of oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic & parsley and cook until the vegetables are soft but not coloured, about 10 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and let cool.
  3. Pour the milk over the bread in a bowl and let it soak while the vegetables are cooling. Combine the meats in a large bowl. Add the egg and parmigiano and season generously with salt and pepper. Use your hands to squeeze the excess milk out of the bread then add the bread to the bowl along with the cooled onion mixture. Gently combine all the ingredients with your hands until just mixed together; don't overwork. Using 1/4 cup portions, shape into meatballs.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350F. Heat a 3-count of oil in the sillet over medium heat and brown the meatballs on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer them to a baking dish and spoon about half the tomato sauce over. Shower with the mozzarella and scatter half of the basil leaves on top; drizzle with olive oil. Put the meatballs in the oven and bake until they are cooked through - about 35-40 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in the boiling water until al dente, 8-9 minutes. Drain the pasta and put it onto a large serving platter. Ladle the rest of the sauce and toss. Spoon the meatballs onto the spaghetti and garnish with the rest of the basil leaves. Serve immediately along with extra cheese.
Tyler says the secret to these meatballs is soaking the bread in milk - I think he's right - it made for a really moist and tender meatball and tasted much more flavourful than other meatballs I've tasted. This meatball definitely didn't need sauce to taste delicious.

Happy Cooking my Friends!

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