"No man is lonely eating spaghetti, it requires so much attention."
- Christopher Morley
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What's more Italian than spaghetti and meatballs? Lots of things, actually.
Spaghetti and meatballs is crowned the classic "Italian" dish in North America appearing on many restaurant menus after the war. It was the Neopolitans that immigrated to places like New York, bringing together ideas of tomato sauce and meatballs.
Years later, and this idea of Italian food has shifted away from the classic image of Lady and the Tramp sharing a romantic spaghetti dinner. Nowadays, Italian food is marked by its authenticity to the homeland, a call to honour real traditions of different Italian regions.
Western restaurants, however, still do lump all Italian foods into one category. At a Italian restaurant, you might find pesto pasta from Genova (northern Italy) and arancini from Sicily (southern).
Different regional cuisines, different flavours, yet served in one place... taboo for those who are native to Italy.
Anyways, I must admit that I do crave a good red sauce every now and again since I usually make my pasta in bianco. At any rate, I do have southern roots ;)
That being said, my boyfriend has been begging for pasta in red sauce since he found out he was dating an Italian girl. So, being the final stretch before school ends for him, I decided to make spaghetti and meatballs this past Sunday.
Though the idea of spaghetti and meatballs is easy to imagine, things take time in order for flavours to really develop. The sauce simmered for several hours, and the meatballs each had to be meticulously shaped into neatly little spheres. The things you do for love.
I think he appreciated my laborious effort, but you can get his take here.
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Spaghetti and Meatballs
* Makes 6 servings *
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 white onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
1 teaspoon oregano, rosemary, sea salt
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
1 teaspoon balsamic glaze
1/2 cup red wine
1 jar of tomato sauce
1 cup pasta water
1 package ground meat (I prefer veal)
2 spicy sausages, de-cased
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon banana peppers, chopped
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
For the sauce:
Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until tender. Stir in spices, salt, mustard and balsamic.
Pour in wine until it has reduced. Pour in a jar of tomato sauce and let simmer for several hours on low heat.
When the pasta is cooking, stir in some pasta water and continue to simmer.
For the meatballs:
Mix the ground meat, sausage, breadcrumbs, peppers, cheese, and egg together in a bowl.
Shape the meat into 2" balls and place on a dish until ready to be cooked.
In a hot pan, brown the meatballs in olive oil. Once they have turned golden brown all over, transfer them onto a tray and bake in the oven at 350º F for 20 minutes or until cooked at the centre. Note: You can also place them directly into the sauce after browning, which will create a richer sauce but will take more time for them to cook.
For the pasta:
Boil a pot of water and ass a splash of olive oil, along with some salt. Cook the spaghetti to al dente, draining and then adding it to the sauce.
Plate the dishes, topping each dish with meatballs.
Garnish with some Parmigiano and enjoy!