Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Spaghetti and Meatballs

I know you probably think all we ever eat is Italian food around here.  Sunday dinners normally do consist of some sort of pasta covered in sauce.  I finally got my husband out of his steak and potato rut.  We grilled almost every weekend the entire summer.  That's not much fun for me since I don't know anything about grilling.  I usually marinade the meat, but that's about it.  I love smelling a good red sauce simmering on the stove early Sunday afternoon.  Smells like home!

My husband LOVES meatballs.  I LOVE meat sauce.  This is the first time in our 12 year marriage that I have made him meatballs.  He normally has to order them from our favorite Italian restaurant for delivery.  He said they were really good and now probably expects them on his plate everytime I make meat sauce.  They were easy enough to make and didn't dirty many dishes, which is always a good thing.  My girls aren't old enough to wash dishes yet.  Boy are they ever in for a surprise later in life.  I always cleaned the kitchen for my sweet Mom. 

Meat Sauce

1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 lb. ground Italian sausage
1 yellow onion, chopped
8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T olive oil
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 14 oz cans tomato sauce
1 small can tomato paste + 2 cans water
2 T Italian seasoning
Salt & pepper to taste
pinch crushed red pepper flakes

In a large stock pot, brown the ground beef and Italian sausage until cooked through.  Add olive oil, onion, mushrooms, salt, and pepper.  Cook until onions are transluscent.  Add garlic and cook another 2 minutes.  Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes.  Bring sauce to a boil, lower heat all the way, and simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.  Don't forget to stir often or it will stick to the bottom and ruin the flavor.  I usually try to simmer mine for 2 hours so it thickens and the flavors have plenty of time to marry.  You can make the meatballs while the sauce is cooking.  This is fun for the kiddos to help with too!

Meatballs:

1/2 lb lean ground beef
1/2 lb ground Italian sausage
1 egg
1/2 cup yellow onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.  With damp hands, take about 2 teaspoons of meat between your hands and roll into balls.  Place meatballs on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and put in refrigerator until sauce is ready.  When your sauce has finished simmering, it's time to cook the meatballs.  Use a long handled spoon to slowly drop each meatball into the simmering sauce.  Continue to simmer for 10 minutes before stirring.  When the meatballs rise to the top, it's time to stir.  Continue to simmer for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

While the meatballs are cooking, prepare your spaghetti.  Cook the spaghetti in salted water until al dente.  Strain and toss with olive oil and set aside until meatballs are cooked through.  

In a large serving bowl, add spaghetti and enough meat sauce to cover.  Toss to combine.  Place meatballs on the top and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese.  Serve more meat sauce on the side.  Now it's time for a nap! 

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