spaghetti & meatballs

it's no secret that i'm not a huge fan of meatballs. silly, right? most of the time when i want pasta, i want the rich garlic sauce or the meaty mushrooms to come through. but there are a few times - when it finally feels chilly outside or it's hovering around freezing in february and there's a foot of new snow on the ground - when spaghetti and meatballs are the perfect food.

i've made them before the alton brown way by baking the meatballs individually in mini muffin cups. sounds clever. and easy. it turned into a big mess. the meatballs stuck to my muffin pan so more than half fell apart while i tried to scoop them out. and the outside doesn't brown the same as when they're sauteed. needless to say, it's a nice idea, it just didn't work so much for me.

so i switched back to the saute pan, cooking the meatballs in batches and monitoring their perfect brownness. just make sure they sit long enough to brown on each side before trying to move them, or they'll break in half.

spaghetti and meatballs
adapted from smittenkitchen, who adapted it from ina garten
serves 4, one hour

2 pounds meatloaf mix. for me, this was 15% pork, 5% veal, and 80% beef.
1 1/4 cups italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 egg beaten
olive oil
1 pound spaghetti
your favorite sauce
  1. to make the meatballs, mix the meat, bread crumbs, cheese, salt, pepper, garlic, and egg in a medium bowl. add about 3/4 cup water to bring the mixture together.
  2. use your hands to form into 1 1/2 inch meatballs. you should have around 24.
  3. in a large saute pan, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil over medium low heat.
  4. when the olive oil is heated, add half the meatballs. let brown about 3-4 minutes, turn, and continue cooking and turning until all sides are brown. cook the other half in the same way.
  5. now is a good time to start your pasta water and cook the pasta according to package directions.
  6. when the meatballs are done, add your favorite sauce to the pan. set the meatballs in the sauce, cover, and simmer about 25 minutes. serve with spaghetti and parmesan cheese.

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