Spaghetti and Beef Meatballs from “The Meatball Shop”; Simple Salad

By Ira

I make different kinds of meatballs as my oldest son loves them with Spaghetti. So, I will be posting many different versions of meatballs, but this one is the Classic Beef meatballs from the “The Meatball Shop” in NYC.

Meatballs:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil / 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1⁄2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1⁄2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground fennel

Note: I used fresh bread crumbs which is equivalent to 1 slice of toast processed in a mini-food processor.

Tomato sauce:

  • 1⁄4 cup olive oil or 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano or 1⁄2 teaspoon dried
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Two 26-ounce boxes Pomi Chopped Tomatoes or two 28-ounce cans whole plum tomatoes, chopped with their liquid

Note: I used 1 Pomi chopped tomatoes and 1 Pomi strained tomato. I also used 3 garlic cloves instead of 2.

To serve: 

  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • mixed greens, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt

Start by making the sauce first as it needs to simmer for 1 hour.

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil / butter over medium heat.

Add the onion and salt, and cook stirring frequently, for 10 minutes over medium – low heat. You don’t want the onions to burn.

When the onions are soft and translucent, add the bay leaf, oregano, and garlic, and cook for 10 seconds stirring constantly.

Add the tomato paste

and cook, stirring frequently for 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and bring the sauce to boil. Decrease heat to low, and let it simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

While the sauce is simmering, you can make the meatballs.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. add the olive oil or the butter into a 9×13-inch baking dish and use your hand to coat the dish. Set it aside.

In a large bowl, add the ground beef, ricotta, eggs, bread crumbs, parsley, oregano, salt, red pepper flakes, and fennel.

Mix everything by hand.

Using an ice cream scoop or your hands, roll the mixture into round, golf ball size meatballs, about 1 1⁄2 inches. Place the balls in the prepared baking dish, being careful to line them up so they touch one another. And yes, they fit perfectly in the dish.

Roast for 20 minutes, or until they are cooked through. Remove them from the oven

and add them to the tomato sauce one at a time. Let it simmer for another 15 minutes.

While the meat is roasting, you can start heating up the water for the spaghetti and wash your greens for the salad.

For the final 15-minute simmer of the tomato sauce with the meatballs, you can start cooking your spaghetti, and you can toss your green salad with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt.

I like to set the table with one bowl of spaghetti, one bowl of tomato sauce and meatballs, one bowl of salad, and one small bowl of grated Parmesan cheese.

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