Friday, August 26, 2011

Spaghetti and Meatballs by Rachel Ray

Gregg was hankering for spaghetti last night. "Do you know what I would like for dinner tomorrow night?" "What's that?" I said. "Spaghetti!" The last time I made spaghetti and meat sauce, I told him I would make meatballs as he also mentioned afterwards that he hadn't had meatballs in a long time. I can take the hint. I kept my word. I didn't have a favorite meatball recipe, but I do now.

Spaghetti and Meatballs by Rachel Ray

I found her recipe here.

Total Time Preparation: 25 minutes

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minute

Servings: 4


1 lb. spaghetti

Salt for pasta water


1-1/4 lb. sirloin

2 teaspoons of Worcestershire Sauce

1 egg, beaten

½ cup Italian breadcrumbs

¼ cup grated Parmesan, Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano Cheese

2 cloves of garlic

Salt and Pepper


2 tablespoons extra Virgin Olive Oil

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

4 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 cup beef stock

1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes

A handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley

10 fresh basil leaves, torn or thinly sliced

Extra grated Parmesan, Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano Cheese to put over your spaghetti and meatballs once it's on your plate.

Crusty bread or garlic bread for serving on the side


Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place a large pot of water on top of stove to boil for spaghetti. When it boils add salt and the pasta, and cook to al dente.

Mix beef and Worcestershire, egg, breadcrumbs, cheese, garlic, salt and pepper. Roll meat into 1-1/2 inch medium-sized meatballs, and place on a non-stick cookie sheet greased with extra virgin olive oil. Bake them for 10-12 minutes, or until no longer pink.

Heat a deep skillet or medium pot over moderate heat. Add oil, crushed pepper, garlic, and finely chopped onion. Sauté 5 to 7 minutes until onion is soft. Add beef stock, crushed tomatoes and herbs.

Bring to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes.

Toss hot, drained pasta with a few ladles of the sauce and grated cheese. Turn meatballs into the remaining sauce. Place pasta on dinner plates and top with meatballs, sauce and extra grated cheese. Serve with a crusty bread or garlic bread .

Rachel says to also serve it with a good Chianti. We just had our usual Pellegrino and with added lime juice. I also bought a loaf of Sourdough Bread at the store today. I cut the heel off for myself but Gregg said he was enjoying the meatballs so much he didn't want to spoil his appetite by eating the bread and he loves sourdough. When I was at the store today I got into a conversation with a lady who was buying bread. She didn't realize I was nearby trying to look at the different kinds that she was standing in front of, and apologized for taking up the room. I said no problem but had she seen a loaf of sourdough bread while she was looking. She pointed them out and told me that she had had their sourdough before and that it was really good. That was enough for me and I popped one into my basket.

I had to walk back to the car in the rain. We had one of those typical monsoon-like downpours that we sometimes get in Virginia. A prelude to Hurricane Irene maybe? I got soaked but after the heat and the dryness of the summer, it felt really good. While everyone was dashing to their cars, there was a mad English woman nonchalantly taking her stroll in the rain, minus her umbrella because she had forgotten it in the car, and once I packed away the groceries in the boot, I nonchalantly walked back to Starbucks to get my coffee, still without umbrella, and just as nonchalantly walked back to the car sipping my coffee. As I have said before, Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the noon-day sun, and apparently they also go out in a heavy downpour. I love the rain, as long as it doesn't hang around too long I suppose, and goes without saying, definitely no thunder and lightning.

Anyhow, our opinion on Rachel Ray's Spaghetti and Meatballs is that it was great. We have leftovers and will be enjoying it again tomorrow. I only used enough out of the 1 lb. box for the two of us. Neither Gregg nor I are too keen on left-over, heated up spaghetti so I will only cook what we can eat at that meal. As for the meatballs and sauce, it can only get better. If there is any left after tomorrow I will freeze it for another day.

Whenever we get spaghetti our preferred taste is for Angel Hair. Gregg's Mom put us onto this years ago and that's all we eat now, this lovely thin spaghetti.

Instead of the flat-leaf parsley I used Cilantro, only because we love it. Years ago, and I am going back some 25 years or so, friends of ours had put it on a pizza they served us. We didn't say anything at the time because it would have been awfully rude, but we really couldn't stand the stuff. This was the first time we had tried it and for years stayed clear. Funny that both Gregg and I had that reaction but about five years ago I think because I had been in a hurry and picked it up thinking it was parsley, when I used it in a recipe we said what is this, it tastes so good? And it was Cilantro. Go figure! We use it a lot now and enjoy it thrown into a salad too. I also used diced tomatoes instead of the crushed. This may have made the sauce less thick but it certainly didn't detract from the taste.

Added note as of 8/26/11

Since I put up this post I have been back to the the food channel site where I found the recipe, and have read several reviews. I didn't read them before because I have always been very happy with any Rachel Ray recipes that I have made. Many of the reviews were positive but many seemed surprised that the spaghetti sauce turned out so thin. People said they added tomato paste to thicken it, others added a little sugar to make it less acidic, others just used their own favorite recipe for the sauce. Personally I wouldn't do any of those things. The sauce is not like your regular spaghetti sauce and it is indeed thinner than the ones I have made before. When you make a recipe the first time and see the original result, the fun is tweaking it to suit your own taste anyhow. For me, I was well satisfied and would not want to alter the taste in any way, other than to make a double quantity so that there is more of it. The same for the meatballs. Next time I will do this so that I can freeze the extra meal for another day.

Added note as of 8/27/11

Well I didn't have to freeze any of this meal. The next day for lunch I served it up on a Hoagie Roll and we had a Meatball Sandwich. This morning Gregg said he would like the rest with a couple of eggs and sauteed tomatoes, and some sourdough toast for breakfast. Brad popped over for an hour this morning and joined us. All gone now, no more meatballs, no more sourdough and everyone was well satisfied. And I was very happy we got four meals, plus three smaller ones out of Rachel's recipe.


  1. That spaghetti and meatballs looks wonderful, Bonnie. Of course, most things by Rachel Ray are!!!!!! YUM... Makes me hungry and it's time to go to bed... ha

    Send some rain our way --but not any storms or hurricanes... Prayers for those who are or will be effected.

  2. There's no doubt; you're a great cook, Denise :)

  3. I haven't made meatballs for pasta in a long time but you've whetted my appetite so I'll do them soon! I agree, we only eat angel hair, the texture is so much better.

  4. Wow, sounds great! I am such a lazy cook, Denise. When I need spaghetti sauce, I just open a jar of Prego from Costco. lol. Love your recipe for meatballs.

  5. Looks delicious. I've never tasted meat balls... hubby is a fussy eater and because he doesn't fancy them it means I can't have them either. Duh?

  6. Yum. I love spaghetti anyway it comes but that recipe looks tops. We always freeze left overs for another day, especially days when we are too busy to cook.

  7. M'mm, very tasty:-)

    I heard on the radio this morning that the East coast is on alert with Irene heading your way. I do hope you will be safe.

  8. I'm going to cook this for my dinner tonight. Well not quite this. Brown some mince and an onion, add a tin of tomatoes, and cook slowly. Cook lots of spaghetti. Eat. You are welcome to use this recipe. :-) Oh yes, add cheese if you have any.

  9. I cook up all the spaghetti, the leftovers are either fried in butter or turned into a cold tuna salad for lunch the next day.

    I love spaghetti and meat balls and I love it with the meat cooked in the sauce - oh, I guess I just love spaghetti! :-)

  10. This sounds so good! Now, I'm hungry!

  11. We love meatballs in tomato sauce too Denise. I cheat and buy ready made meatballs and then grill them to release the fat and make a homemade sauce (a Nigella recipe) which, as yours does, improves with keeping. I may give your recipe a go though, sounds delicious.

    Hope Hurricane Irene does a detour and misses you all on the east coast. A x

  12. Wow, I'm hungry now. I used to watch Rachel Ray's shows about eating at various places inexpensively. It looks like you did a great job.

    I thought that I was the only who didn't care if I got wet or not. I don't like lightning but if its just raining I'll go out with or without an umbrella. I love running in the rain.

    Of coures I haven't much opportunity since we haven't had much rain lately.

  13. that looks yummy Denise......

    Gill in Canada

  14. Hi Denise, that meatball recipe may be one I'll try some time. I do make my own sauce and spent several hours today using plum tomatoes from our garden. They were harvested in advance of Irene's arrival. Hope you will be safe as well. Grenville and I are riding out the storm here on the VA eastern shore.

  15. This looks so good, one of my favorite meals. I know one thing I am going to make this soon.

  16. This recipe has made me drool. Sure makes the salmon I was planning for tonight seem much less appealing. I am a carb-gal.