Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs

I can't claim to be Italian, but I sure did a lot of research when it came to tackling this classic Italian dish. In addition to tasting fabulous, this recipe is so easy to put together. It's great for making extra meatballs for leftovers and is accessible enough that anyone should be able to throw it together on a weeknight.
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 50 min
  • Prep: 25 min
  • Cook: 1 hr 25 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Ingredients

1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for topping

1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs

3 tablespoons milk

1 large egg, beaten

8 ounces ground chuck

8 ounces ground pork

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Vegetable oil, for frying

5 cups Classic Tomato Basil Sauce, recipe follows

1 pound spaghetti

Fresh basil, for garnish

Classic Tomato Basil Sauce:

4 pounds ripe plum tomatoes or two 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice, such as Organic Muir Glen

2 heads garlic, cloves peeled and halved lengthwise

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper 

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup chopped fresh basil

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the cheese, breadcrumbs, milk and egg in a large mixing bowl until well mixed. Add the chuck and pork and mix to combine, working gently to avoid overworking the meat. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Shape into small golf ball-size meatballs and place on the lined baking sheet. 
  3. Bake the meatballs until they are cooked through, about 15 minutes. 
  4. Meanwhile, bring the Classic Tomato Basil Sauce to a simmer. Transfer the meatballs to the tomato sauce and toss to coat, allowing them to simmer for another 5 minutes. Meatballs can be held in the sauce until ready to serve. 
  5. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Transfer the cooked pasta directly to the sauce, tossing to coat. 
  6. Serve the spaghetti and meatballs topped with grated Parmesan and fresh basil.

Classic Tomato Basil Sauce:

  1. Cut an "X" in the bottom of each tomato and blanch in a large pot of boiling water 10 seconds. Immediately transfer the tomatoes with a slotted spoon to an ice bath to cool, then peel, seed and chop. 
  2. Cook the garlic in the oil in a small, heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally until golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and red pepper flakes, season with salt and pepper, and add the fresh basil. Cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. 

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