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The Best Spaghetti and Meatballs
Lately I’ve been craving staple meals. While I love, and will always love global meals with tons of crazy spices and flavors, it’s been nice to spruce up some classic main dishes. My stipulation with all Italian food is that the red sauce must be made with crushed San Marzano tomatoes.
(To see more of why San Marzano tomatoes taste so delicious – see this link. Hint, it has to do with volcanic soil.) Once you taste this sauce, you’ll never go back to jarred. I use it on my pizza too!
Here’s what makes this the Best Spaghetti and Meatballs ever:
- The meatballs are made with PROSCIUTTO and RICOTTA.
- The sauce is basically just crushed delicious San Marzano tomatoes with a little garlic and herbs.
- The pasta is actually bucatini (not spaghetti). Bucatini is one of the best (and easiest) ways to uplevel your spaghetti. It’s so much thicker than spaghetti and it’s hollow inside which allows for just another nook and cranny for sauce. Most grocery stores carry it near the nicer pastas, just next to the boxed pastas. It’s usually only $1 more than normal spaghetti.
The Best Spaghetti & Meatballs
Tomato Red Sauce
- 3 cans (28 oz.) whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
- 1/3 c. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. butter, unsalted
- 3 tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1.5 tsp. salt (can add more to taste)
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1/2 c. thinly chopped prosciutto
- 1/2 c. bread crumbs, dry
- 1/3 c. grated dry Parmesan cheese
- 1/3. c. ricotta cheese
- 1 egg, beaten
- 3 tbsp garlic, minced
- 1/4 c. fresh basil, diced finely
- 1/4 c. fresh parsley, diced finely
- 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds, crushed
- 1 tsp. oregano, dried
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. onion powder
- 1½ tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (add more if you want spice)
- olive oil, for cooking
Pasta + Toppings
- 1 16oz. package of bucatini (can sub spaghetti) Bucatini is so much thicker than spaghetti and it’s hollow inside which allows for just another nook and cranny for sauce. Most grocery stores carry it near the nicer pastas, just next to the boxed pastas.
- fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
- fresh basil, chopped thin
Tomato Red Sauce
Begin by blending your tomatoes in a blender for 5-10 seconds. They don't need to be fully pureed, but this helps break them down a bit before cooking, and gives your sauce a nice texture.
Heat olive oil and butter in a large heavy-bottom bot over medium heat. Add garlic, and cook for a minute until slightly golden brown (watch carefully to make sure it doesn't burn).
Add dried oregano and salt and simmer for one more minute.
Add blended tomatoes (if you don't have a blender you can crush the tomatoes with your hands as you add them). Stir.
Turn up heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a simmer. Stir.
Add a lid and let the sauce simmer, stirring occassionally for 30 minutes, until it is slightly reduced. Set aside any sauce you'd like to serve without the meatballs.
*note: this Tomato Sauce can be made ahead and chilled in the fridge.
Combine beef, prosciutto, bread crumbs, Parmesan, and ricotta. Mix with a spoon or your hands.
Add in garlic, basil, parsely, and all additional spices.
Then, using hands, mix in beaten egg. Mix gently. No need to overmix, just incorporate.
Using your hands or a kitchen scoop, scoop out balls that are about 1-1.5 inches big. Roll gently into balls. Arrange on a large plate or baking sheet.
Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add half the meatballs, using tongs. Turn and roll every 1-2 minutes until all sides are browned.
Once first batch is cooked, add meatballs to warm sauce. Repeat with second batch of meatballs. Keep meatballs warming in sauce while you prepare the pasta.
Bring a large pot filled with water to a rolling boil. Salt generously, then add bucatini.
Stir well to ensure no sticking. Once pasta is cooked, use tongs to transfer pasta to pot with sauce. Stir gently to coat. (If you want to serve them separately, strain pasta in a large colander and drizzle well with olive oil to ensure no sticking.)
Serve several meatballs with each plate or bowl of pasta. Add more red sauce if desired. Top with fresh basil + Parmesan cheese to taste.
Just looking at these photos has me drooling! We love this meal. Let me know if you make The Best Spaghetti & Meatballs, or if you have any questions! Tag me with photos @plumstreetcollective on Instagram. Thanks for reading!