Spaghetti and Meatballs

This recipe came to me through my friend Mary and it is a beloved stand-by in our house.  I always have tomato paste on hand and the meatballs are very easy to make. You can also purchase meatballs to save time. I usually double it and freeze a batch to have on some lazy winter day.

For the meatballs:
2 lb ground turkey or ground sirloin (I prefer turkey)
1 egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 grated parmesan cheese
1 t garlic salt
2 T chopped parsley

Mix all ingredients gently and form into 2″ balls. Bake at 375ยบ for about 10-12 minutes. They don’t need to be cooked completely through as they will continue to cook in the sauce. This makes a lot of meatballs; I usually either use half and freeze the rest or double the sauce recipe and use all the meatballs. It depends if you like lots and lots of meatballs or prefer a less meaty sauce.

For the sauce:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, minced
pinch of crushed red pepper
3 t salt
4 t basil (I use 2 of those frozen cubes of basil from Trader Joe’s)
3 small cans tomato paste
9 cans of water

Heat the oil and add the onion; cook over medium heat until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper and garlic and cook another couple of minutes until the garlic is fragrant. Add the tomato paste and fry that until the color deepens, maybe 5 minutes or so, stirring all the time. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 2 1/2 hours. Add the meatballs and simmer another 30 minutes or so.

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