Spaghetti with Meatballs

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 medium onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 pound ground veal

1/4 pound ground pork

1/4 pound ground beef

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano

1/4 cup dry unseasoned bread crumbs, plus more for coating

Coarse salt

Freshly ground pepper

1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

3 cups Traditional Italian Tomato Sauce, recipe follows

1 pound dry spaghetti

Traditional Italian Tomato Sauce:

4 (28-ounce) cans whole Italian plum tomatoes

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 cup Chianti or dry red wine

1 tablespoon dried oregano

8 leaves fresh basil

Coarse salt

Freshly ground pepper


  1. In a large saute pan, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and saute until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Place the ground meats in a large mixing bowl. Remove onions from heat, and add to ground meats. Add egg, egg yolk, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and 1/4 cup bread crumbs to bowl, and combine. Season with salt and pepper. Add the red pepper flakes and oregano, and mix well to combine. Roll the ground meat mixture into golf ball-size meatballs. Place on a baking sheet covered with bread crumbs, and roll. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat. Add the meatballs, and brown on all sides, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the meatballs from the pan, and transfer them to a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Discard the remaining oil. Return meatballs to pan, and cover with 3 cups tomato sauce. Slowly simmer over medium heat, until the meatballs are heated through, about 15 minutes. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti, and cook until al dente, about 6 to 8 minutes, or according to package instructions. Drain, and add cooked spaghetti to the sauce mixture. Cook for an additional 2 minutes. Serve immediately.

Traditional Italian Tomato Sauce:

  1. Puree the tomatoes in a food mill, removing most of the seeds. In a medium stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat, add garlic, and saute until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add red pepper flakes. While the oil is sizzling, slowly add half of the pureed tomatoes and the wine, stirring to mix. Add remaining tomatoes, reduce heat to low, and let simmer. Add the oregano, and continue to simmer until slightly thickened, 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add the basil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. The sauce may be kept in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 or 4 days, or in the freezer for 1 month.