Monday, July 5, 2010

The Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

I found this recipe quite awhile back in my America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. I love pasta and my hubby loves meatballs so it was a winner all around. I usually do a simplified version of this for a quick week night dinner with meatballs that I have frozen beforehand. The meatballs freeze really well. Served with delicious garlic bread, we all gave it two thumbs up.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

2 slices high-quality white sandwhich bread
1/3 cup buttermilk
3/4 pound ground beef
1/4 pound ground pork
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 large egg yolk
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper
vegetable oil
4 cups tomato sauce (great recipe for this coming soon)
1 pound spaghetti

1. Bring 4 quarts of water of a boil in a large pot for the spaghetti.
2. Meanwhile, remove and discard the crusts from the bread, then tear the bread into small pieces. Mash the bread pieces and buttermilk to a smooth paste in a large bowl, using a fork.
3. Add the beef, pork, parmesan, parsley, yolk, garlic, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper to the mashed bread.Stir the mixture gently until combined and uniform. Gently form the mixture into 1 1/2 inch round meatballs. (about 12)
4. Pour the oil into a 12 inch skillet until it measures a depth of 1/3 inch. Heat over medium high heat until shimmering. Add the meatballs in a single layer and cook until nicely browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the meatballs to a paper towel lined plate and discard the oil left in the skillet.
5. Place the skillet with any browned bits over medium heat and add the tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Reduce to the heat to low and add the meatballs. Continue to simmer, turning the meatballs occasionally, until heated through, about 5 minutes.
6. While the meatballs are simmering, add 1 tablespoon salt and the spaghetti to the boiling water. Cook, stirring often, until the spaghetti tastes almost tender but is still firm to the bite.
7. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, drain the spaghetti, and return it to the pot. Stir in several large spoonfuls of the tomato sauce (without meatballs) and toss to coat. Divide the pasta among individual bowls. Loosen the remaining sauce as needed with the reserved pasta cooking water. Top each bowl with more sauce and several meatballs. Serve with extra parmesan.

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