Spaghetti and Meatballs

I had a long day at work today, so when my mom told me she had made homemade spaghetti and meatballs, I had to go over and try them!  This was a new recipe my mom tried out of the Bon Appetit Magazine, October 2010 issue.  What was nice about these meatballs is that you do not brown them on the stove… they cook in the tomato sauce for 15-20 minutes, no turning or browning required!   We loved this Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe and plan on making it for company in the future.  My Garlic Ciabatta Bread recipe would be a perfect accompaniment to this flavorful Italian dish.  Enjoy! 
Combine tomatoes with juice, butter, onion, and salt in large pot.  Bring to simmer over medium heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes.

Combine breadcrumbs and milk in small bowl.  Let stand for 10 minutes.

Place beef and pork in large bowl.  Add Parmesan, parsley, salt, and pepper.

Whisk eggs in small bowl. Whisk in garlic.  Add to meat mixture.

Add breadcrumbs to meat mixture.  Using your hands gently mix meat mixture until all ingredients are combined.  Chill at least 15 minutes, or up to 1 hour.

Roll meat mixture with your hands into golf-ball sized balls.

Arrange meatballs in single layer in sauce in pot.  Bring to simmer, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until meatballs are cooked through, 15-20 minutes.

Transfer meatballs to platter.  Add pasta to sauce in pot and toss to coat.  Top each serving of pasta with meatballs.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese (optional) and serve.

Spaghetti and Meatballs
2 (28 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes in juice, drained, juice reserved, tomatoes finely chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 medium onions, peeled, halved through root end
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless French or country-style bread (we used store-bought)
1/3 cup whole milk
8 ounces ground beef (15% fat)
8 ounces ground pork
1 cup finely ground (not grated) Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
2 large garlic cloves, pressed
1 pound spaghetti
Freshly ground Parmesan cheese (for serving)

1.  For the sauce:  Combine tomatoes with juice, butter, onions, and salt in large wide pot.  Bring to simmer over medium over medium heat.  Reduce heat; simmer uncovered 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Discard onions.  Using immersion blender (use kitchen scissors to cut up tomato pieces), process sauce briefly to break up any large pieces of tomato (texture should be even but not completely smooth).  Season sauce with more salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Remove from heat.
2.  For the meatballs:  Combine breadcrumbs and milk in small; stir until breadcrumbs are evenly moistened.  Let stand 10 minutes.
3.  Place beef and pork in large bowl and break up into small chunks.  Add 1 cup ground Parmesan, parsley, salt, and pepper.
4.  Whisk eggs to blend in small bowl; whisk in garlic.  Add to meat mixture.
5.  Using hands, squeeze milk from breadcrumbs, reserving milk.  Add breadcrumbs to meat mixture.  Using hands, quickly and gently mix meat mixture just until all ingredients are evenly combined (do not overmix).  Chill mixture at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.
6.  Moisten hands with some of reserved milk from breadcrumbs, roll meat mixture between palms into golf-ball size balls, occasionally moistening hands with milk as needed and arranging meatballs in single layer in sauce in pot.  Bring to simmer.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until meatballs are cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.
(Do ahead):  Can be made 2 days ahead.  Cool slightly.  Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled.  Rewarm before continuing.
7.  Cook spaghetti in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally.  Drain.
8.  Using slotted spoon, transfer meatballs to platter.  Add pasta to sauce in pot and toss to coat.  Divide pasta among 6 plates.  Top each serving with meatballs.  Sprinkle meatballs with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and serve.

Yield:  6 servings

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