Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs
~Adapted slightly from Gourmet, January 2009~
Serves 12 to 16

For Tomato Sauce
6 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes in juice (preferably San Marzano)
2 medium onions, chopped
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

For Meatballs
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
10 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 cups torn day-old Italian bread
3 cups whole milk
6 large eggs
2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/4 pound)
1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped oregano or 1 teaspoon dried, crumbled
2 1/2 pounds ground beef (not lean)
2 pounds ground pork
1 cup olive or vegetable oil

For Pasta
2 pounds dried spaghetti

grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Make Sauce:  Drain tomatoes, reserving juice in a large bowl.  crush tomatoes with your hands and add to juice.  Cook onions in oil in pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes.  Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes with their juice, 3 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.  Simmer sauce, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Make Meatballs While Sauce Simmers:  Cook onions in extra-virgin olive oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.  Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.  Transfer to a large bowl to cool.  Soak bread in milk in another bowl until soft, about 5 minutes.  Firmly squeeze bread to remove excess milk, discarding milk.  Stir together cooled onion mixture, bread, eggs, parmesan, parsley, oregano, 4 teaspoons salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper until combined.  Add meats to bread mixture, gently mixing with your hands until just combined (do not overmix).

Form meat mixture into about 70 (1 1/2-inch) balls with dampened hands, arranging meatballs on 2 large baking sheets or in shallow baking pans.  Heat olive or vegetable oil (1 cup) in a 12-inch heavy skillet (preferably nonstick) over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown meatballs in 4 or 5 batches (without crowding), turning frequently, about 5 minutes per batch.  Return to baking sheets.

Add meatballs to sauce and gently simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, 20 to 30 minutes.  (If pot is not large enough, divide meatballs and sauce between 2 pots.)

Prepare Pasta:  Cook spaghetti in 2 batches in pasta insert in boiling salted water (3 tablespoons salt for 6 quarts of water) until just al dente, draining and tossing each batch with some of sauce in a large serving dish.

Serve with meatballs, remaining sauce, and grated cheese.

Cooks' Notes:  Meatballs can be made and simmered in sauce 5 days ahead and chilled (covered once cool).
Meatballs with sauce can be frozen in an airtight container or heavy-duty sealable bags up to 3 months.

Sense of Home / Recipes / Main Dishes