While watching FoodNetwork’s “The Kitchen” show, they were siting that their poll states that spaghetti and meatballs is the number one comfort food. I love a good spaghetti and meatballs but in the south I would bet that fried chicken, dumplings, BBQ or some casserole would top the list.
When I think of Spaghetti and Meatballs, I think of my brother. My mom makes every kid’s favorite dish for his or her birthday. It’s funny because once she locks in that it is “your” favorite she doesn’t depart. My brother must have said he liked her spaghetti and meatballs in high school and to this day when we get together for birthdays you can bet that on my brothers day he is getting his spaghetti and meatballs.
So back to the recipe.. Geoffrey Zakarian showed how he roasted his meatballs. I usually fry mine in a cast iron skillet but typically have to babysit them by rolling around to get a good crust on each side. Roasting is a no fuss way of accomplishing the same thing without the hassle.
GZ has been hitting it out of the park with his recipes. He adds a few unique steps that really make a huge difference. I did depart from his recipe quite a bit. Mine was absolutely fabulous and I am sure his is even better. He used panko bread crumbs but I had two heels of my sourdough loaf left and used them. He also uses ground pork and pork sausage but I didn’t feel like grinding my pork so went with Turkey Sausage (kinda odd but it worked). I did screw up the noodles by over salting my water. The water is supposed to taste like the sea but not the Dead Sea.
5 tbs of bread crumbs (Panko, I used Sourdough)
6 oz of heavy cream
1/2 cup of finely diced yellow onions
3 cloves of finely diced garlic
1 tbs of finely diced fresh rosemary
1/4 cup of finely diced parsley
5 OZ of grated parmsean cheese
1 tbs of canola oil
12 oz of ground veal
12 oz of ground turkey breakfast sausage
20 oz of San Marzano Tomatoes or Rao’s jarred Arrabiata Sauce
1/2 finely diced onions
1 tbs of Basil (fresh if you have it)
4 cloves of garlic
1 tbs of Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 cup of Red Wine
1 tbs of tomato paste
Spaghetti noodles cooked al dente
Parmesan cheese to top
Here is you tackle this. The meatballs need about an hour to set up so tackle them first. If you like concentrated sauce like I do you can make them and start your sauce right after that and let it simmer OR you can start it right after you put them in the oven.
1. Pulse your bread crumbs in a food processor until they are fine. Now this was odd to me but pour them into a bowl and add heavy cream. the crumbs are going to suck this cream up and you are going to be left with a pretty thick bowl of goo. GZ used panko so I don’t know if they reacted the same as my sourdough crumbs. Don’t freak out.
2. Take the onions with a tbs of canola oil in small pot or the same pan you’re going to use for your sauce. Sweat them out on medium low heat for about 10 minutes. Then chop and add your garlic and rosemary. Cook for about 3 minutes and then remove from the heat to let the mixture cool.
3. Now everything you see in the meatball ingredients goes into a mixer. Mix this until everything is incorporated. You might need to do some hand work on the bread crumbs if you get lumps. Roll the balls into the size you like. I prefer smaller meatballs to maximize the amount of crust I can get with each bite. Put the meatballs onto a sheet pan, cover and let them set up in the fridge for an hour. You can cheat if you’re time crunched.
4. Two stepper… In a preheated oven at 425 degrees place your meatballs in the middle rack. Set your timer to 25 minutes. Right after start your sauce.
5. Stay with me here. You are going to have three pots on the oven. One for cooking the pasta, one for the sauce and the third we are going to use as a landing spot for the pasta.
For the sauce follow the same process you did for the meatballs by sweating your onions in a medium to large pot on medium heat. When onions are soft, add the garlic and cook for a minute. Add the rest of your sauce ingredients and let it simmer. If you like rich sauce cook it longer but careful not to burn it.
6. When your meatballs are done, remove them and set them aside. Start your pasta water by bringing it to a boil with salted water. 3 tbs or so of Kosher salt. I don’t know the size of your pot or how high your fill it. Cook to the directions on the box to get them al dente.
7. Ladle in a cup or so of the sauce into the third pan/pot and then take your noodles directly from the pot using tongs and add them to the pan. The point of this it to introduce the noodles and the sauce so that you get full coverage. Add the meatballs to the non-noodle sauce pan to get those two acquainted.
Serve by plating your noodles first and then top with the meatballs. You can leave the extra sauce on the side or spoon a little on top. Apparently that technique of putting sauce on top is a “no no” but I don’t see big deal.