Comfort Food: Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe
Last night, I decided to take it easy at home and make something that would go well with “movie night”. Pizza came to mind, but that would still be classified under eating out. With the kitchen to myself, I was going to make a white clam sauce spaghetti, but Mr. K preferred a spaghetti and meatball dinner. What is it with men and meatballs?
I have several different ways I make meatballs, but decided to make what would be a good partner to the tomato cream sauce I intended to make. This blog won’t go into how I made the sauce (refer to, “If I told you, I’d have to kill you”), but I did manage to snap shots of how I made the meatballs and the final product, so here goes nothing.
Bear in mind that I am not a recipe girl. I don’t know the measurements and most everything is done by estimates and taste. A “bit” of that, and a “toss” of this is as good as it’s going to get when it comes to my cooking blogs.
How much of each you need will depend on how many you are feeding. That ground beef package was about 1.3 pounds, and I used a little more than half. I also used two of the Italian Sausages — and combined, it made enough for at least four people.
Peel the casing off of the sausages and place into a big bowl with the ground beef. Now you will need a little bit of flour, some panko breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and heavy cream.
For the amount of meat I had, I put in about a tablespoonful of organic flour, around 3/4 cup of breadcrumbs (unseasoned), and enough salt and pepper to taste. Finally, I poured in about 1/3 cup of heavy cream. I skipped out on adding eggs this time, which I do for some other meatballs.
Mix the whole thing up together by hand. Make sure that the sausage is evenly distributed, and that each area of the final mound visibly has some beef and sausage. If you find the mixture to be too dry, you can add some oil and/or more cream to add some moisture.
Tip #1: when making your little round balls, do not make them too big.
Tip #2: when making your little round balls, make sure the ground meat mixture is LOOSELY packed, not tight. Dense meatballs make for tough meatballs. Just loosely take each bit, and use your palms to loosely make them circular.
Some others will tell you this is wrong, but I always fry my meatballs first before finishing off the cooking process within the sauce. I find that this step ensures that my meatballs are (1.) round (which is kind of important) and (2.) not crumbling within the sauce when you stir it in. I brown them on all sides in the frypan, and will individually put them into the sauce once they are browned on the outside. Whether or not they are fully cooked on the inside is not important as this step solely serves as a way to add a bit of texture to the meatballs, and help the ball-shape remain intact once they are being stirred in the sauce.
Once the meatballs are browned on the outside, carefully toss them into the heating sauce. It matters none at all whether this is a marinara, or cream sauce — but I constantly stir the sauce once it reaches a certain heat level, so keep stirring!
At the end of cooking, add some greens for flavor. Here in the photo, I have added fresh basil and parsley, and some green onions. If I had some fresh tomatoes or yellow onions at home, I would have diced those up, too. Alas, I had none of the above so I did what I could.
In the meantime, I prepared some spaghetti noodles to the perfect amount of al dente, and strained the water out. Immediately, I will put the drained noodles back into the pot, drizzle olive oil on it and mix it all around to make sure the noodles do not get sticky or starchy.
When the sauce has been boiling on medium low for about 20 minutes with continuous stirring, pour the sauce on top of the noodles and stir as shown below.
I always save some fresh basil to sprinkle on top, and then grate some fresh parmesan on top of the pasta.
This pasta is a simple and comforting dish to serve up. For reasons I don’t quite understand, I find that the entire thing tastes better when you make the meatballs and sauce a day before serving it. This isn’t always plausible, so more often than not, I end up making it on the day it will be served. But for the same reason, the leftovers for this dish taste pretty good the next day.
On this evening, I steamed some broccolini with salt and served alongside the pasta.
Simple — and comforting!