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Spaghetti and Meatballs


SobaAddict70
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Awww, that's cute, Heather... one of those things you will always remember. Sounds like a good topic for another thread... things your kids said about food, or something like that. :biggrin:

Michael, you described that era so much better than I did. Years really have made a difference. Another good point you made was about the cheap wine. I always expected my dad to know good wines, but he always bought the cheap stuff. It amazed me. Shortly before he died, when he knew he was nearing the end of his life, he bought some decent sparkling wine for a dinner get-together, to make a toast. For him, to spend $25.00 on a bottle of anything was unheard of!

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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When I was a kid, I remember spaghetti sauce made from *gasp* a jar.  Specifically, Aunt Millie's.  We didn't much care for Ragu or Prego.  Didn't do meatballs much, it was just ground chuck, onions, garlic, Aunt Millie's, maybe a t. of sugar, salt and that was it.  Served on Ronzoni spaghetti.  Obligatory Parm cheese.

I've changed since then, but every so often I get a hankering for spaghetti sauce from a jar.

Will I lose my eG badge of credibility?  :blink:  You be the judge.

Soba

Millie's was the best jar sauce, for years, because it was the purest. I'm an obsessive label reader, Ragu & Prego have always had too much crap in them (things like corn syrup - yuck). Then Classico came along & did a better job of what Millie's had done so well for so long. Then Newman showed up, then the imports....

Jarred sauces are handy once in a while when you're pressed for time, I see nothing wrong with that, as long as there's no corn syrup in that jar.

Of course I have no credibility to start with so I can say whatever I want. :laugh:

Edited by ghostrider (log)

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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Of course all you have to do to make spaghetti and meatballs an "Italian" dish is to serve the meatballs as a main course after you served the tomato sauce you made with them on a pasta as a first course.

But that's so boring. Try this - instead of meatballs add some browned short ribs your tomato sauce instead of meatballs. Simmer for a few hours. Serve the ribs as a main course after you use the tomato sauce on your pasta for the first course. Recommended pasta: fresh or dried fusilli

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Try this - instead of meatballs add some browned short ribs your tomato sauce instead of meatballs. Simmer for a few hours. Serve the ribs as a main course after you use the tomato sauce on your pasta for the first course. Recommended pasta: fresh or dried fusilli

Exactly! I like to do bracciole in the sauce and serve those as the second course.

--

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Pasta- dried, usually linguine for the same reasons others mentioned.

Meatballs- smallish, rough looking, but light and fluffy. Ground beef, lots of garlic, relatively large torn-up pieces of stale, crusty baguette, a shocking amount of coarsely shredded parmesan and romano, and a sprinkle of water, depending on how it's all holding together. (Other seasonings according to mood.) Minimal handling and shaping keeps the texture tender and light. Brown in pan and add to sauce just a few minutes before serving.

Sauce- can be fast or slow. Sautee onions, garlic, green peppers in olive oil, add red wine, tomatoes, other seasonings according to mood.

Served with whatever toppings people like. There's enough cheese in the meatballs, but the kids usually add more. The Significant Other often adds Sriracha sauce, which makes it taste more like the Vietnamese version of spaghetti and meatballs his father made. Universal comfort food.

I love Italian wines, and try to buy those cheap enough that I can throw some into the sauce without crying, but decent enough to drink with the meal.

"Hey, don't borgnine the sandwich." -- H. Simpson

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Ground turkey and ground pork make a nice light meatball. I bake them and then bake them again in the sauce. I got that from Mario. A lot of white wine in the sauce is good too. Check out foodnetwork.com for Mario's turkey meatball (Polpettine di Tacchino) - awesome - and almost too flavorful, if that's possible.

I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.

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A lot of white wine in the sauce is good too.

Even with jarred sauces, the addition of a 1/4 cup of a good wine (I use red) will add a new dimension of flavor.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Of course all you have to do to make spaghetti and meatballs an "Italian" dish is to serve the meatballs as a main course after you served the tomato sauce you made with them on a pasta as a first course.

But that's so boring. Try this - instead of meatballs add some browned short ribs your tomato sauce instead of meatballs. Simmer for a few hours. Serve the ribs as a main course after you use the tomato sauce on your pasta for the first course. Recommended pasta: fresh or dried fusilli

Now that'sa 'Talian! :biggrin:

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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I love Italian wines, and try to buy those cheap enough that I can throw some into the sauce without crying, but decent enough to drink with the meal.

Same here.

A little stock in the sauce is also a good thing...

I like that, too.

:smile:

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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of course sauce gets much nicer if your start with a sofritto and some anchovis...

deglacing with some Noilly Prat gives a nice dry whitewine aroma..

pasta should be made fresh with lots (6 per pound flour) of eggyolks, then cut to taglierini.

i prefer the meatballs browned and finished in the sauce at medium/low temperature

a nice recipe from perugia is covering a pitted black olive with the meatballdough

then bread, and fry in lots of clarified butter... hmmm :-)

cheers

t.

toertchen toertchen

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cologne, germany

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I would be curious to learn what people consider the optimal bread to meat ratio is?? Following the idea that meatballs are a food of poverty with the bread being to extend the meat, not just to bind it, I have been experimenting with ratios up to about 40% bread- milk soaked and torn or lightly pulsed. The results have been good- very tender and flavorfull.

I fry in EVOO and tend to use a blend of at least pork and beef and sometimes veal.

Nathan

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  • 6 months later...

I'll be making this over the weekend - I've researched a few recipes, and have a couple of questions.

1. Tomato sauce - I have canned whole plum tomatoes in juice - do I drain the tomatoes and discard the juice or work that juice into the sauce? I like a thick sauce.

2. I will be adding meatballs and sausage to my sauce. The cooking times for these meats seem to vary greatly in all the recipes that I have looked at - from 30 minutes to 2.5 hours. Is there an ideal length of time - where both will be fully cooked, but not dry and will have sufficiently flavored the sauce.

3. I haven't decided if I am going to brown the meatballs first before adding them to the sauce - if I don't - does this mean I should cook them in the sauce longer? I assume I should. All the recipes that show adding sausage say to brown them first - does anyone ever add them with out browning?

Thanks.

johnjohn

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johnjohn

1- A can of whole tomatoes will not get you that far if you don't use the juice. Running them through a food mill will be better than just 'squashing' them, in that regard. Feel free to discard the juice if you want a thicker sauce but just make allowances in the amount you use. You can also do both- mill one can and add just the pulpy bits from another can.

2- Cooking times will vary based on personal preference but essentially you're looking to reduce the acidity of the tomatoes, meld the flavors, thicken, and caramelize some of the sugars in the sauce. If I'm cooking with canned tomatoes I generally let it go for about two hours (I do mine in the oven at 250deg), but fresh tomatoes from the garden get scarcely a half hour one the stovetop. There is a tradeoff in character from freshness to thickness and sometimes it just depends on ingredients and/or mood. Your meats (meatballs , sausage) should require about an hour in a simmering sauce to be done and you can add them midway through if you like. Other types, such as big old hunks of beef, will take longer.

3- I advocate browning both, myself. I also prefer ground beef over the beef/pork/veal mixture. But both of these methods are what I grew up with so that's what tastes 'right' to me. But if you do brown you meat, do it in the same pot that you will start your sauce in and you will have a nice fond to start with. It really just comes down to a flavor, and possibly texture, issue- try it both ways and see what you prefer. If you don't choose to brown just keep them in the sauce for the full two hours. Also- with the sausage, browning will render some of the fat (which you will have to discard before beginning your sauce) so you might have to skim the sauce periodically.

I would be curious to learn what people consider the optimal bread to meat ratio is??

In terms of breadcrumbs, you can use anywhere between 1/2 cup to 1 cup per pound of meat. !/2 cup will yield a firmer meatball and 1 cup will yield a softer one, though I'm pretty keen on 3/4 cup myself, plain, soaked in milk. I use fresh herbs.

aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."

"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

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I would be curious to learn what people consider the optimal bread to meat ratio is??

In terms of breadcrumbs, you can use anywhere between 1/2 cup to 1 cup per pound of meat. !/2 cup will yield a firmer meatball and 1 cup will yield a softer one, though I'm pretty keen on 3/4 cup myself, plain, soaked in milk. I use fresh herbs.

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Recently, I've taken to making fresh breadcrumbs.

Whilst dried often has the value of convenience, with fresh crumbs, you can add any flavorings you like. A little garlic and anchovy goes a long way. :raz:

Soba

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My grandmas meatballs had breadcrumbs, my mothers had bread soaked in milk, my former MIL had crumbs, current MIL doesnt cook ...only roasts :biggrin:

Mine now have bread soaked in milk maybe 3-4 slices no crusts cheap ground beef romano cheese or salt oregano parsley white pepper cayenne pepper garlic onion powder cooked in olive oil then add garlic then add canned tomatoes and all the same seasonings again cook about an hour Ronzoni spaghetti #9

but if you want to go all to hell with yourself you get some chuck steak hot sausage sweet sausage and sliced pork butt and roast it... can roast the meatballs too....half a stick of pepperoni cut into 1 inch chunks and then simmer that all in the sauce

Now thats Sunday GRAVY serve as second course, of course

lots of Locatelli Pecorino Romano on top

tracey

did you ever notice that the micrplane makes romano cheese shimmer like plastic easter basket grass or is that just me

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

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While I like Soba's idea of flavoring the fresh breadcrumbs, and will be sure to try it, I usually make my own dried breadcrumbs periodically. Mostly for convenience, I guess, but the soaking sure does help. I measure them pre-soaking.

Tracey- thet certainly is a Sunday Gravy! Save some of that chuck steak for me- that was always my favorite. And don't forget to add the rolled pork skins...

aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."

"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

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Oh, do I have a hankerin' for a big pot of sauce! I realized that I haven't made a sauce with everything in it for years. I still do meatballs and sausage, and often throw in country style pork ribs. Now, I want to also make some bracciole which I don't remember when I made last. It was so long ago that I can't remember what kind of meat I used. I think ( :huh: ) I stuffed it with garlic, onions, grated Parm. parsley, maybe some proscuitto ... ??? What do you folks stuff your's with? And... what kind of meat do you use?

"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne."

John Maynard Keynes

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  • 1 year later...
And... what kind of meat do you use?

hi good thread alot of ideas.

my (italian) grandmother used flank steak (pound it thin if too thick) for braciole-they sell minute steaks and call it braciole at the market but i like the flank steak-cover in grated cheese, chopped garlic and some parsley-secure with toothpicks fry until browned and simmer in sauce until they get really soft

alot of work-i havent made braciole in forever.

making spag and meatballs today-i add i can chicken stock to my sauce (crushed tomatoes, puree and some paste) onions garlic etc.

bloo

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Never noticed this thread before. I haven't read every single post carefully, but for me the following are essential for really good Italian-American style meatballs to go with spaghetti:

1) A light touch with shaping the balls

2) Bacon. Bacon or pancetta cooked, but I prefer salty bacon.

3) Soak cubes of white bread in yogurt (Cook's Illustrated tip I've embraced)

4) A little Romano, a little Parm

Browned first, always, then cooked in the sauce. Even better the next day, reheated, when they've been refrigerated in the sauce.

This year, I've been trying Italian regional recipes for polpette that are served as a main course with a side dish or independently as a substantial kind of snack in a few cases, rarely with pasta unless they're very small and incorporated into something elaborate, usually layered or covered with pastry and baked.

Sicilian meatballs with currants, pine nuts and cinnamon are really good and perhaps behind the use of pine nuts here. (Lidia M. Bastianich had a recipe for turkey meatballs with cinnamon a while back in a TV-issue Gourmet that I really liked.) There are others that are filled with ricotta, the cold meat mixture shaped around the cheese. In Puglia, meatballs are served instead of lamb in a dish that includes braised bitter greens.

ETA: This thread needs a few photographers.

Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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I've always used some combination or just one of beef/turkey/pork, bread crumbs, egg, fresh parsley, and parmesan/romano cheese. Browned, then simmered in the sauce.

I think I'd like to try bread soaked in milk or yogurt.. how long do you soak it for, just until it gets mushy enough that it'll mix into the meat easily?

I have heard of adding a small amount of water to the mixture, resulting in moister meatballs, anyone tried this?

I have a photo but it doesn't showcase the meatballs very well. These were turkey and this was a baked spaghetti.

spaghetti.jpg

Edited by fodgycakes (log)

Michelle Pham

I like pie.

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I have heard of adding a small amount of water to the mixture, resulting in moister meatballs, anyone tried this?

These were turkey and this was a baked spaghetti

spaghetti.jpg

yes i add 1/2 and 1/2 and a little water to the meatballs-they are a bit soft to fry in a pan so i bake them in the oven-they are very moist that way

and i do the same egg, breadcrumbs, romano cheese, finely chopped onion and crushed garlic (salt pepper oregano)

baked spaghetti??? sounds interesting and looks good in the pic-have a recipe?

thanks!

:biggrin:

bloo

Edited by bloosquirrel (log)
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I make baked spaghetti similar to baked ziti. I make a batch of tomato sauce (with or without meatballs, you can also do a meat sauce). I boil spaghetti as usual and mix it with some cheese so that it melts. With a 1/2 pound of pasta I use 1 1/2 cups ricotta, 1/2 cup mozzarella, sometimes some feta or provolone. Mix up the type of cheese to your liking. I then spread a layer of tomato sauce in a 8" x 8" or 9" x 9" pan (for a full pound of pasta use a full size casserole pan), spread out half the pasta/cheese mixture, pour on more of the tomato sauce, the rest of the pasta, then top with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of mozzarella and 1/4 cup grated parmesan and/or romano. I use 2 1/2 to 3 cups of tomato sauce for 1/2 lb of pasta.

Michelle Pham

I like pie.

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