My Thursday Thing: My Inner Italian



As a kid, I could have eaten pasta for dinner EVERY NIGHT. Actually, make that every meal of every day. As I've grown up, my love for Italian food hasn't wained, although I do enjoy many other cuisines, as you've seen from my previous posts. But every now and again, I like to channel my inner Italian and cook up a good spaghetti and meatballs dinner for my family. I use my quick and easy tomato sauce, adding in some delicious and super moist meatballs to the sauce, officially making it a gravy (at least I think that's right, I'm not actually Italian). And the best part is that it's ready in about an hour. Now how are you going to beat that? Here's the recipe that serves 4-6 people.


Meatballs

2 pounds ground beef, preferably 85% lean

4 tbsp milk

1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

2 eggs, slightly beaten

2 tbsp Italian herbs (or a mix of garlic powder, onion powder, basil, and oregano)

1 tbsp salt

1/2 tbsp black pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Blend all ingredients in a mixing bowl just enough to incorporate, but don't overmix, or your meatballs will be tough. Use a large ice scream scoop to make large meatballs. Place on the baking sheet. You should get about 14-16 meatballs. Use your hands to roll the meatballs into a round shape.

Bake for 20 minutes then remove from the oven. They'll finish cooking in the tomato sauce.

NOTE: If you aren't using the meatballs in your sauce, continue cooking for another 10 minutes or so until just slightly pink in the middle (cut into one to test).



Quick Tomato Sauce

2 - 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes

6 ounce can tomato paste

3-4 garlic cloves, chopped (see my Quickie for how to peel garlic)

2 tbsp Italian seasoning (or a mix of garlic powder, onion powder, basil, and oregano)

3-4 bay leafs

1 tbsp salt

1/2 tbsp black pepper

3 tbsp olive oil


For directions, see my latest Quickie!

Spaghetti

16 ounce box spaghetti

2 tbsp butter


Prepare the spaghetti according to instructions on the package, stopping 2 minutes short of the cooking time when the noodles still have a little bite to them. Drain the spaghetti and return to the pot. Add about 1 cup of the tomato sauce and the butter. Return to the burner on low and stir everything together until the butter melts, about 1 minute. This process will coat the noodles wonderfully with the sauce and the butter will add a richness and shine to the noodles. Serve in a bowl and top with the meatballs and a little grated Parmesan cheese if you like. Enjoy!


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