The Best Pasta and Meatballs Ever

The Best Pasta and Meatballs Ever


This, if I may boast a little, is the best sauce and meatball recipe we (my husband and I) have had anywhere, ever. And my husband is hard to please when it comes to this dish. To give you an idea, for the first five years of our marriage, he couldn't stop talking about his step-mother's spaghetti and meatballs. When I introduced this recipe, he ceased talking about her cooking altogether. I think I finally made the grade! I tweaked a recipe I had by adding the bacon drippings, herbs and a few other ingredients. Hope you enjoy it too!

Sauce Ingredients:
2 T. extra-virgin, cold-pressed olive oil
2 T. bacon drippings (from range-fed pigs raised with no growth hormones, antibiotics, and processed with no nitrates or nitrites)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Two 35-ounce cans Italian plum tomatoes, crushed (do not drain) (If you cannot find these, regular tomatoes will work fine.)
1 t. crushed hot red pepper flakes (optional)
1 t. crushed, dried basil leaf
2 bay leaves
Redmond Real Salt or real sea salt (is gray in color, not white), to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
*tomato paste (if necessary)

Sauce Directions: 
1. Heat oil and bacon drippings in a heavy 4 to 5-quart pot over medium-high heat. 

2. Add onion and cook and stir till onion is wilted about 3 or 4 minutes. 

3. Add garlic and cook for one minute. 

4. Add tomatoes, pepper flakes, basil, and season lightly with salt and pepper. 

5. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, stirring frequently, for 30 minutes. 

*If the sauce is too thin, add a little tomato paste to thicken, according to personal taste.

Meatballs Ingredients:
1/2 lb. ground pork
1/2 lb. ground beef
1 cup fine, dry sprouted bread crumbs
1/3 c. freshly grated Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1/4 c. fresh Italian parsley (the flat-leaf variety)
1/2 t. each dried crushed basil and dried crushed rosemary (or twice these amounts fresh, finely chopped)
1 t. salt (as mentioned above)
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
arrowroot flour for dredging
1/4 c. extra-virgin, cold-pressed olive oil
1/4 c. bacon drippings (as mentioned above)

Meatball Directions: 
1. Into a large mixing bowl, crumble pork and beef (do not mix yet). 

2. Add bread crumbs, grated cheese, garlic, egg, herbs and salt and pepper. 

3. Don your kitchen gloves and mix all ingredients until combined, but be careful not to over mix, as this makes the meatballs tough. 

4. Shape the mixture into 1 1/4-inch meatballs.


5. To dredge the meatballs, put arrowroot flour into a one-gallon size zipper baggie. 

6. Add a few meatballs at a time, close bag and gently shake to coat meatballs. Repeat with remaining meatballs. 

7. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. 

8. Add oil and fat to skillet, being careful that it does not smoke. Add meatballs to skillet without crowding so there is room to turn them. 

9. Brown, turning as necessary, until golden brown on all sides, about 6 or 7 minutes. 

10. Remove the meatballs to a platter and repeat process as necessary for remaining meatballs. 

11. Add browned meatball to the sauce, cooking gently for about 30 minutes.

Pasta Ingredients:
1 lb. Tinkyada brand brown rice fettuccine or spaghetti
2/3 c. freshly grated Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese

Pasta Directions: 
1. Bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil in an 8-quart pot. 
2. Add pasta to water, making sure to stir 2 or three times to ensure that noodles do not stick together. 

3. Bring back to a boil and cook according to package directions. 

4. Drain pasta into a colander and rinse well with hot water, as brown rice pasta tends to stick to itself if not rinsed well.


5. Pile pasta on a large platter. Sprinkle with half of the grated cheese. 

6. Spoon sauce over pasta and top with meatballs and a sprinkling of remaining cheese.


Addendum:
Cut your work in half by making the meatballs ahead of time and freezing them.

Note: You can make the meatballs ahead of time and freeze them until you need them. They should last in the freezer for up to 6 months. Just follow the recipe for the meatballs only. After they have cooled on the platter, put them, in a single layer on a large baking sheet, leaving space in between them so they do not touch. Put the baking pan in the freezer for 3 or 4 hours. They should be frozen after this amount of time. Remove the meatballs from the pan and put them into gallon zipper baggies and back into the freezer.

When you plan to serve this meal, make the sauce and add in as many meatballs as you need (frozen). They will thaw out in the sauce. Just plan to add another 15-20 minutes to the cooking time for the sauce (and keep the flame on low). There! You've just cut your workload in half (or less) on the day you serve this recipe.

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Sharon Kaufman
Jesus Christ has been my Savior for 44 years. Robert, the wonderful man that God provided to love me has been my husband for 42 of those years. We have four children, all grown, several with children of their own. Of course that means that we have grandchildren - 10 to be exact, and three great granddaughters. I have been a stay-at-home mom, sometimes helping to supplement the income from within the home. Now I am a stay-at-home grandmother. Jesus Christ has been my guide and keeper and I have found, in all the trials, heartbreaks and good times that He just keeps getting sweeter and sweeter as the years roll by. My future is secure and I look forward to eternity in the presence of my Creator, Redeemer and King.
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