Sunday, August 26, 2012

Spaghetti and meat balls

My boys' favorite dish of all time! A classic, comfort food that can always easily satisfy any hungry appetites. Although I am not a fan of high carbohydrate foods, I love to watch my oldest son gulping down 4 pieces of meat balls along with his spaghetti without taking a breath. He told me "Mom, these are some great meatballs", and just that alone made my heart smiled. 
Nothing fancy or extravagant about this simple dish, but yet it made such a satisfying meal. I made the meatballs from scratch, but cheated a little on the sauce :). Well I guess I could say semi-homemade instead of cheating to make it sound a little better. It's semi-homemade because I used store-bough tomato sauce then added some more fresh tomatoes along with onion, garlics and some herbs to create my own taste. My husband loves the sauce while my oldest son raves about my meatballs, so all in all it's a success! And I hope you will enjoy it too!


1. Meatballs:

- 12 oz of ground beef
- 6 oz of ground pork
- 1 whole egg
- 1/2 cup of bread crumbs
- 1/2 onion (minced finely)
- 4 cloves of garlic (minced)
- 1/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tomato (finely chopped)
- 1 1/4 tsp of salt
- 1 tbsp of soy sauce
- 3 tsp of sugar
- 1 tsp of mushroom seasoning
- 1 tsp of garlic powder
- 1 tsp of mixed Italian dried herbs
- 1/2 tsp of black pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Form about 19-20 balls with your hands (wearing gloves will help to keep the smell from sticking to your hands later). Up to this point, you can either bake them in the oven or pan frying them on a stove top. If you are like me don't like trying to avoid the splashing from frying, then line them up in a aluminum baking tray or a cookie sheet. Pre-heat the oven to 450F and bake for about 1 hour, flip the meatballs every now and then to get them cook evenly. The last 15 min, turn to broil at 475F and continue to bake until the meatballs turn golden brown.

2. Spaghetti and tomato sauce:

- 1 lb of spaghetti
- 1 jar of store-bought tomato sauce or marinara sauce
- 2-3 fresh tomatoes (finely chopped)
- 1/2 onion (finely chopped)
- 1/2 tsp of Italian dried herbs
- 4 cloves of garlic (minced finely)
- Olive oil, 1 tsp of salt (extra for the spaghetti water), 1 tsp of fish sauce, 2-3 tsp of sugar, black pepper
- Shaved or freshly grated Parmesan cheese and red crushed pepper for garnish.

- Cook the spaghetti until "al dente" accordingly to the instructions (about 8 min and make sure you salt the cooking water). Drain the spaghetti, don't rinse and drizzle with some good EVOO to prevent them sticking together. Reserve about 2 ladles of spaghetti water for the sauce.
- In a medium sauce pan, add a couple tsp of olive oil and add chopped onion and minced garlic. Stir until slightly brown and fragrant. Subsequently add in the chopped tomatoes and the tomato sauce along with some Italian herbs. Thin the sauce out with the reserved spaghetti water. Cook for about 5 minutes, season with salt, fish sauce, sugar and pepper, adjust to taste.
- Transfer the spaghetti onto a serving plate, pour the tomato sauce over the spaghetti, place some meatballs on top, sprinkle with shaved Parmesan cheese and red crushed pepper. Bon appetit!

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