Monday, October 8, 2012

Simple Spaghetti and Meatballs

One of my most favorite comfort foods in the world is spaghetti and meatballs.  I don't know if it is because you are basically combining a meatloaf with pasta that makes me crave it like crack or the fact that I always have a couple (ok fine, a few) slices of Texas toast with it but regardless it is simply one of those dishes I cannot live without!

Years ago my cousin made her delicious meatballs that was a family recipe from her husband's side of the clan.  As is typical, I was never able to replicate them quite how she had made them until I finally decided to give up.  

It was fine, really it was, I didn't need to make good meatballs, it would simply have to be my Achilles heal.....

I walked around with this Eeyore mentality for months, dragging my head in shame that there was something I had tried to make countless times to no avail.  Sure they weren't uneatable when I had made them in the past, but I would take one bite and think "Eeeh, I've had better".

Finally, after a really long day, I decided comfort food was what I needed so I headed to the store in order to find the fixins for a meatloaf.  That, after all, could cure anything!

As I entered the store I realized what I was really craving was spaghetti and meatballs but the cloud of shame still loomed heavy on my heart so I disregarded this natural craving.

Finally, I came to the meat counter and there it was, staring me in the face.....a1 pound blend of ground meat, beef, lamb and pork.  

EUREKA!!

I always made my meatballs with this combination in the past but then I was also left with 3 pounds of meatballs which even I couldn't complete.  

I saw it as a sign!  Direct intervention from the Lord above that I should try just one more time to make meatballs....ok, maybe that was my stomach talking, but someone/something rumbled to me there in that meat department of Harris Teeter!

Suddenly my mind was racing with possibilities!

I got creative with it this time, trying to remember what I already had in my pantry and what else I would need to buy....in the end, with the dish I was planning to make, all I would need was marinara sauce and the meat.....SCORE!!!  

I am nothing if not a sucker for a budget friendly meal!

Here it is friends, my go-to midweek dish that makes me smile with pride each time I prepare it!

Ruthie's Spaghetti and Meatballs

1 lb. ground meat (beef, lamb and pork preferably)
1/2 to 1 cup Italian Style Breadcrumbs
1 egg
2 tablespoons fresh parsley 
(use a teaspoon of dried if you don't have fresh but I really think fresh is better in this case)
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese  
(spoiler alert: I used the kind in the green can that doesn't really have to be refrigerated and it was still delicious)
1 lb spaghetti pasta
2 jars of your favorite marinara sauce
Texas Toast....lots and lots of Texas Toast!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the meat, breadcrumbs, cheese, egg, parsley and Italian seasoning.  I usually throw in some salt and pepper too just because that is what they do on the Food Network.  With your hands (put down the wooden spoon....it truly will NOT work as well) combine all of the ingredients.  If the mixture has absorbed all the breadcrumbs and is still too moist add more breadcrumbs (I usually dust the top of the mixture liberally and then see where I stand).  Roll into ping pong size meatballs.
In a cast iron skillet heat a tablespoon of cooking oil over medium heat.  
Turn the pan to coat the bottom.  Add the meatballs and cook on all sides until browned.  It doesn't matter if they are cooked throughout as you are going to cook them again.
Remove meatballs from the skillet and drain off excess fat.  
Pour one jar of the sauce in the skillet and then return the meatballs.  
Add second jar of sauce and try and coat the meatballs a little bit.  
I honestly usually just go with whatever sauce is on sale!  Lucky for me Emeril pulled through for me this time!
Place in the oven for 30 minutes.  
Meanwhile, get your pasta ready!  
Cook according to package directions....Oh and do the same with the toast!
Serve immediately!
 
Moral of the story: Stop trying to copy others and make it your own and it will be exactly what you were craving in the first place!
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