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Old 01-19-2009, 06:11 PM   #1
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ISO: The ultimate spaghetti and meatballs recipe

I decided to cook myself a birthday dinner and would like to use the roasted tomato purée I made from my garden. I'd like to make everything from scratch including the pasta. Would anyone like to share any recipes? Sauce? Spaghetti? Meatballs?



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Old 01-19-2009, 07:22 PM   #2
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I know you will get answers, just be patient. I don't know any from scratch, I'm so sorry. My momma took her recipe to her grave, unfortunately. It was the best I had ever had. Nothing has compared since.

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Old 01-19-2009, 09:16 PM   #3
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Ask any Italian and its Mom's.... everyone is diffrerent and there never really is a recipe per see just a method and a feel.

with your garden tomato puree you have a good start.

You basically want to make a ragu naolitano... but Italian-American style with meatballs.... I would google it and look at a bunch of different recipies and take what you like from them.... this is basically a stew so there is no right way.

I can't give you a recipe but here are some tips

For the meatballs (use a mix ground pork/veal/beef in thirds)
Use grated reggiano and use fresh basil

Brown the meatballs... also brown both hot and sweet italian sausages for adding to the ragu

When you make the ragu simmer low and slow with the meat in it... this is Sunday Sauce making it is a day long event (or at least morning long... traditionally sunday supper was early afternoon)

Start your ragu by sauteing an base of aromatics in olive oil before you add the tomato (onion, garlic, celery, carrot, peppers whatever you want really)... these can be diced fine so they dissapear or thicker cut for a chunky sauce (i like non-chunky) If you are going tro use wine use it here to deglaze dont just dump it in the sauce.

Since your tomatos are garden tomatos you may not need a sweetener but usually something is added to sweeten the sauce... this can be sugar, honey, rasins carrots, wine.... everyone does it differently.

here is a cool article on ragu northern and souther stule (Spaghetti and Meatballs you are looking at the american adaptation of the southern) Two Men, Two Italys, Two Ragouts - New York Times

Just remember everybody's mom's is best and even if she gives you her recipe she rarely surrenders all the secrets.
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Old 01-21-2009, 05:32 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by PanchoHambre View Post

Just remember everybody's mom's is best and even if she gives you her recipe she rarely surrenders all the secrets.

That could be the reason I can't duplicate Mom's recipe. Her spaghetti and meatballs are great. She shared her recipe with me but I can't seem to get it the same as hers. I like mine but hers is much better. Sigh.
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Old 01-21-2009, 05:47 PM   #5
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Grandma Louise's Spaghetti

This sauce has been passed down from my great, great grandmother. She grew up in Italy and Croatia and spent her life in the states running Italian Restaurants. The sauce is very hearty, one quart will mix with 1/2 lb of pasta. One pound will easily feed 6 adults, especially with meatballs.

It is also good without meat, which I make with relative frequency.

Spaghetti Sauce
3 lbs hamburger
4 medium onions, VERY finely chopped
5 stalks celery, VERY finely chopped
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
½ lb bacon, cut up (optional)
6 cloves garlic, chopped
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cloves
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 tbs sugar
1 cup dry red wine
1 6 oz can tomato paste
2 15 oz cans tomato sauce
2 28 oz cans whole, peeled tomatoes
2 lbs spaghetti noodles


2 lbs hamburger
4 eggs
6 slices dry bread
garlic, salt & pepper to taste

SAUCE: In a large (8 quart) pan, cook chopped bacon until crisp. Do not drain grease. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release drippings. Add hamburger and brown. Again, do not drain grease. Add all of the spices and red wine. Remove from heat and cover. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Return to the stove, over medium-high heat. Add the celery, onions, parsley and garlic. Cook until the onions are soft and clear (about 20 minutes). Add the whole tomatoes and their juice, one can at a time, then the tomato sauce and tomato paste. After adding each can, allow the sauce to return to a boil before adding the next can.

Cover and simmer, for 2-3 hours. Stir occasionally and break up whole tomatoes when doing so. Do not stir the last 20 minutes of cooking.

When sauce is done, remove from heat. Pools of grease will have risen to the surface. Carefully skim all of the grease. Stir and serve with 2 pounds of spaghetti.

MEATBALLS: Crack eggs into a bowl with raw hamburger. Moisten dry bread slices (if you don't have dry bread, toast them in the oven to dry) with water. Crumble bread into the bowl. Season with salt, garlic and pepper. Mix with your hands and form into 2" balls.

Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 350° for about 15 minutes, until the meat is thoroughly cooked. Stir the meatballs into the spaghetti sauce for the last hour of cooking.
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Old 01-21-2009, 08:48 PM   #6
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Scott, first, Happy Birthday!

Second, if you have lovely fresh puree from homegrown tomatoes, you may want to consider a simple sauce such as this one Cooks.com - Recipe - Fresh Tomato Cream Sauce to go with your homemade pasta.

As wonderful as the recipes are that have been posted above, I'm thinking that the fresh flavor of your puree will be lost with all the heavy flavors of meats, etc. And those complex sauces may also mask the flavor of your homemade pasta.

However, if it's spaghetti and meatballs you have a hankering for, and you choose one of the recipes posted or something similar, save your homegrown puree for another time, and use storebought pasta (dried or fresh). In that case, let your sauce and meatballs be the stars of the meal.

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Old 01-22-2009, 10:51 AM   #7
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I agree with Lee. I grow a large garden and can a lot of my bounty. In the summertime, when I have fresh tomatoes, I use them for quickly sauteed sauces. I'll just chop a tomato, some garlic and shallot... saute in lots of olive oil for a few minutes, then toss in fresh basil at the end before adding the pasta (which I've never made from scratch in my life, unless you count egg noodles for chicken and noodles). The sauce is like a tomato-y Aglio e Olio minus the red pepper. I use my canned tomatoes in the wintertime when I want a hearty sauce. Mine is similar to those hearty winter sauces posted above and I use pork and beef.

Are your roasted tomatoes canned or do you live in a climate where you are getting fresh tomatoes right now?
Life is too short to eat processed, artificially-colored, chemically-preserved, genetically-modified food. Or maybe that IS why life's too short.
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Old 01-22-2009, 11:15 AM   #8
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Happy Birthday Scott.

I think thats the fun part of spaghetti sauce. You can alter the recipe in so many different ways and it still comes out good. As for the recipes passed from generation to generation, I don't think any of them used a 'recipe' per se. It was all by the look and feel and also by what they had in stock. Meatballs, I always use 2 or 3 different kinds of ground meat.

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Old 01-22-2009, 11:30 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the responses and well wishes!

Here's my plan of attack for today:

Sauce - The roasted tomatoes I have are from the summer time that I roasted, pureed and froze. I am going to use those in the sauce. My plan is to sweat some onions, carrots, celery in some butter, saute some garlic, de-glaze with some dry wine (not sure of red vs. white yet, but probably red due to the meatballs), throw in the tomato with some of the basic italian herbs and then add in some of the meatballs for some extra flavor. Doesn't sound too hard right?

Meatballs - I just picked up some pork/veal/beef mixture and will combine that with half a package of frozen/thawed spinach, garlic, basil, parm, egg, and bread crumbs. I'm thinking about browning then finishing in the oven.

Pasta - whatever recipe i can find, its basically flour and water with some salt, i believe the pasta attachment i got for my stand mixer has a recipe.

Garlic Bread - I'm thinking about making a loaf from scratch, although I haven't decided if I have time.

I'll let you all know how it turns out and how I changed any of these recipes.
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Old 01-22-2009, 11:36 AM   #10
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oooh, those meatballs w/ the spinach sound terrific, can't wait to hear how they turn out. I'll try that next time I do my meatball recipe, thanks for the idea!


Fettuccine Alfredo is Macaroni & Cheese for Adults.
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