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
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.