Spaghetti & Meatballs

I got this recipe from Half Baked Harvests cookbook. The recipe is also featured HERE. Homemade meatballs are sooo much better than store bought in my opinion. The first time I made homemade meatballs was in Italy. I’ve taken 2 cooking classes there and it’s still my favourite thing to do when I visit. Does anyone else feel like everything just tastes better when made in Italy? Well these weren’t made in Italy but we can pretend 😉 These meatballs are so soft, the sauce has the freshest tasting ingredients, and it’s topped off with soo much cheese. Yum….

Recipe Review:

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY – MODERATE

  • Steps: 5
    • Rating: Easy
  • Involvement
    • 38 min. prep time
    • Rating: Moderate
  • Ingredients & availability
    • 19 – 21 ingredients
    • All ingredients you can easily find at the grocery store
    • Rating: Moderate

Equipment Required:

  • Measuring cups/spoons
  • Can opener
  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Saucepan (for pasta)
  • 9 x 13-inch baking dish
  • Mixing bowls
  • Aluminum foil

Time: ~ 38 min. prep. + 27 min. remaining cook time = 1 hour 5 min. total

Servings: 6

Calories/serving: ~ 349 (not including pasta)

Ingredients:

  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 slices white bread
  • 1/2 cup whole milk or water, as needed
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 (796 ml) can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, crushed with your hands
  • 1/4 cup oil-packed, sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
  • 4 picked jalapeño slices (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 225 grams mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 1/2 cup cubed provolone cheese
  • cooked pasta, for serving
  • fresh basil and oregano, chopped, for serving (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish with olive oil.
  2. Place the bread in a small bowl. Pour over enough milk to moisten the bread and let it soak for 5-10 minutes. Gently squeeze out the excess milk, then crumble the dampened bread into a medium bowl.
  3. Add the ground beef and egg and mix well with your hands. Grease your hands with a bit of olive oil and roll the meat mixture into ten to twelve 2 tablespoon size balls. Place the meatballs in the prepared baking dish and bake for about 15 minutes, until the meatballs are crisp on the outside but not yet cooked through on the inside.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the wine, crushed tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeño, dried basil, parsley, oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes, and a pinch each of salt and black pepper.
  5. Pour the sauce over the meatballs. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for about 25 minutes more, until the meatballs are cooked through. Remove the foil and sprinkle evenly with the cheeses. Return to the oven, uncovered, and bake until the cheese are melted and golden, about 10 minutes. Serve over your favorite fresh pasta, topped with fresh basil and oregano.