Delicious spaghetti and meatballs comes from the marriage of a great tomato sauce with juicy, tender and flavourful meatballs. This is a very basic but wonderful dish which will delight your guests and have them coming back for more.
First, the sauce. A great tomato sauce is made from tomatoes, garlic and a few hot red pepper flakes along with spices such as bay leaves, oregano, basil and pepper. The trick is to simmer the sauce along with the spices until the taste is just right. Normally this will take between two and three hours. When the sauce is finished cooking to your liking, be sure to remove the bay leaves and, if necessary, use a blender to reduce any large pieces of tomato. Small chunks are alright in the sauce.
When choosing the meat for meatballs, I prefer the traditional blend of beef, pork and veal. This will give you the most tender meatballs. Experiment to find your own preferred proportions. Along with the regular spicing, I find that a touch of fennel and hot red pepper flakes gives it a lift. Simple day old bread soaked in milk is the best for moisture, and the gentle sharpness of a good parmesan adds just the right touch.
When forming the meatballs, I use a small ice cream scoop. This is a quick process that keeps them a similar size and doesn’t over-compact the meat.
Test your spicing
It’s easy to test your spicing of the meatballs. When you think you have it, just make a small meatball and cook it in a little oil in a pan. Taste it and see. If you make your adjustments now, you won’t be disappointed. A trick you can use with the meatballs is to brown them in the oven on a cookie sheet. This will save you the time and mess of frying them, and works just as well. The meatballs will cook through thoroughly while you finish them by simmering them in the sauce.
Once your sauce is done and the meatballs browned, combine them and simmer until the meatballs are completely cooked. Serve with spaghetti ‘al dente’ and enjoy.