Sunday, March 25, 2012

Make Ahead Sunday: Spaghetti and Meatballs

I make many different kind of meatballs (chicken/fennel, turkey/spinach, etc), but the classic is always a favorite.  Such a great make ahead meal because every part of it freezes beautifully. 


  • 1 pound ground sirloin (mixture of ground beef and ground veal is ideal but sirloin will do if you can't find veal)
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 3/4 c panko breadcrumbs soaked in 1/2 cup milk for 5 minutes
  • 1/3 c Italian flat leaf parsley (finely chopped)
  • 3/4 c freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 onion (or shallot) finely chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste (about 1/2 - 1 TBSP each)
Preheat oven to 375.  Combine all ingredients.  Roll into small balls.  I like mine to have about a 2 inch diameter so you get about 28 of them. Bake on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for approximately 30 minutes.   Freeze and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes to reheat or serve over pasta with marinara sauce immediately.


In the summer when we have tomatoes in our garden, I make this marinara sauce to freeze so we can have it year round.  Of course, feel free to use jarred marinara. 
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups tomatoes (chopped and seeded)
1 bay leaf
2-3 Tbsp butter
10 leaves fresh basil (chopped)
In a large pot, heat the oil over a medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about more 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaf, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper, to taste. Add butter and stir.  Sounds weird, but it thickens in and gives it a velvetty finish.  Add basil.  Cool then add half the mixture to a blender or food processor and puree.  Combine with the remaining half.  Enjoy or freeze.

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