Friday, March 13, 2015

Spaghetti and Meatballs

I spent a lot of time traveling around Italy and ate lots of wonderful food but one of my fondest memories is walking into a little neighborhood restaurant just outside of Turin at the end of a long day. As I walked through the door, the bartender glanced at me and yelled,  Bistecca, Spaghetti?  That was the choice for the evening. Steak or spaghetti.  I opted for the spaghetti and never looked back.  It was the best spaghetti I had ever tasted.  Over the years, when I make spaghetti I always think of that cafe and the many others like it and think of the generations of cooking that went into that one bowl of pasta.  Each time I make spaghetti, I create a new recipe,  one worthy of being the only pasta on the menu.
 I fried some bacon just for the grease.  It rendered about 2 tablespoons.  I used the bacon for salads. You can substitute oil if you want but you won't get the depth of flavor the bacon grease gives you.  To the grease add 1 diced onion, 4 diced garlic cloves, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, 1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper and some red pepper flakes to taste.   Saute just until the onions begin to soften. Deglaze the pan with 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.

 Add 2 large cans of crushed tomatoes and 1 small can of tomato paste.  Also add about 2 tsp. of sugar.  Let this simmer while you make your meatballs.

 In a bowl, mix 1 pound of ground chuck with 1/2 pound of Italian sausage.  Add 2 eggs,  3/4 cup of bread crumbs ( fresh if possible), 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese, 3 tablespoons of minced parsley, 4 diced garlic cloves and 1 small grated onion.  Form them into balls and bake them at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes depending on how big they are.

 A few minutes before serving, whisk 1/3 cup of cream into the sauce.  Toss in 2 pounds of spaghetti which you have cooked al dente along with some chiffonade  fresh basil. Toss until the pasta is thoroughly coated.

 Serve the spaghetti with a meatball/meatballs on top sprinkled with some Parmesan and more fresh basil.

16 comments:

laurie said...

my favorite meal!
You have certainly had an exciting life!

Debra She Who Seeks said...

The best pasta I ever had was in Italy too -- pasta primavera in a Cinque Terra village!

Jim said...

Now that pasta must have been something else! Aren't you glad you chose that restaurant!
A few tips here as well for me to try....especially the cream and the bacon fat.
Thanks.

TARYTERRE said...

What a wonderful story. A fabulous memory. A real recipe to write home about. I love this version you have created. I too use Italian sausage in my meat sauce.

Mary said...

Glad to see you bake meatballs in oven too, so many people say should not. I add a bit of cream/milk to store bought sauce it changes the take for the better too.

Mary Ann said...

That looks like a fabulous recipe and I am going to try it, it's really better for my husband to eat from scratch than use canned sauce...

Nellie said...

Perfect!

Robin Larkspur said...

I have never seen cream in a spaghetti recipe. This looks fantastic.

Craig said...

Looks wonderful and looks and sounds very authentic. Lovely!

thecottagebythecranelakethree said...

There's nothing like spaghetti and meatballs! My mother has never been a great cook but that was one of the things she could do perfect, as long as she bought the meatballs because the ones she made weren't edible :-) :-) :-)

Have a great day!
Christer.

Dog Trot Farm said...

Comfort food, spaghetti and meatballs...a favorite in my household...I would love to read more about your most interesting life...

Leeanna said...

I never thought to saute my onions and garlic in bacon grease. Thanks for the tip.

Guillaume said...

One of my favorite dish. So simple, so delicious. With red wine, which sadly I can't seem able to drink anymore, because of sulfates.

Yours is mouth watering.

Gatekeeper said...

Always looks good.

Jeri Landers said...

YUMMMMM, thats a lotta meatballs! I wonder if you have been a professional chef? You just make these amazing meals. I gave your lentil recipe to husband, he is resident cook and makes lots of soups and stews.Although he makes a great Lentil S, he is always eager to try something different.

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

I can see it now..you wandering into a little neighborhood restaurant and having spaghetti that made an imprint on your brain. My spaghetti is always different too. I make it much like you do..but..I am not going to use bacon grease to get mine going. Having already made your meatballs (heavenly!) I cannot wait to put it all together. TOMORROW. Family dinner is going to be Joyce's spaghetti. :) Thanks for giving us such fantastic recipe's, Joyce.
Hugs,
Mona