Teaching myself to cook, one recipe at a time.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Meem’s Spaghetti and Meatballs


Hubby grew up in an Italian family. His grandmother was from Sicily and a fantastic cook. He’s got memories of sneaking into the kitchen as a kid to swipe a meatball from the pot, and so I tried to reproduce it a while back. Of course, the recipe was only written down later by his mother, so it left a few questions unanswered, but it turned out well. But then I put the recipe aside and forgot about it.


Fast forward a year. We started going to a family-style Italian restaurant in our neighborhood, and their spaghetti and meatballs is out of this world.

It made me want more. So I made more. I made a few shortcuts, though, since I didn’t go to the store after deciding to make these.

First step: the meatballs. Combine breadcrumbs and grated romano cheese. Or in my case, combine breadcrumbs with grated parmesan cheese.


Add in milk, eggs, salt, pepper, minced onion, minced celery, and minced garlic. Or…. in my case, instead of celery, use celery salt and cut back on the regular salt, since I didn’t have celery.


Finally, add ground beef, shape into balls, and “cook.” The recipe didn’t specify how. I did some googling and learned that frying them in a pan is more authentic, but baking them is healthier and easier. I went with baking, though it did give them each one flat side. I think next time, I’ll fry them on the stove.


They came out looking like this. They seemed to be oozing a bit of cheese and fat, but they sure smelled good.


And now for the sauce!

Start off with a little olive oil, a can of tomato sauce and three cans of tomato paste.


Just sauté it for 20-30 minutes, stirring very frequently because it sticks and scorches if you don’t.


Then add minced onion, celery, and garlic. Again, I didn’t have celery, but I did add onion and garlic.


Cook it for another 10ish minutes, or until the veggies are soft. It’s getting pretty thick by this point.


Measure out the following: oregano, basil, salt, black pepper, sugar, and a bay leaf. The oregano and basil would have been better fresh, but you make due with what you have!


Add it to the tomato sauce, along with 6 cups of water.


Also add the meatballs, and then let it simmer (covered) for an hour, stirring every now and then.


At this point, I realized that what I *thought* was a fully box of spaghetti was really more like a quarter box of spaghetti. So I cooked fettucini instead. I guess it all tastes the same.


It was yummy! I think I may add less water next time, as the sauce seemed thin at the end, but it was good. I think if I had followed the instructions exactly and also fried the meatballs, it would have been especially amazing.

But it was worth the effort. We both ate too much.


  1. I'm so glad you posted this! I'm always looking for a good sauce recipe, and my mouth instantly started to water when Andy posted on FB that you were making his family recipe.

    FYI: I put quite a bit of water in mine too, but I also let it cook for like 3 or 4 hours so some of it evaporates. Also, sauce is great crock pot style :)

  2. Spoken like a true Italian. Very smart. I only simmered mine for an hour or so, so maybe it would have been better to let it go longer. Thanks for the tip!