Saturday, January 8, 2011

Italian Spaghetti n Meatballs

Italian Spaghetti n Meatballs:
Who doesn't like spaghetti? Our scrumptacular spaghetti n meatball recipe is sure to be a hit on any occasion!

What you'll need:

2 pounds ground beef (wouldn't go for lean, will miss a lot of flavor if you do)

Jimmy Dean Italian sausage (use half of the roll)
Pack of spaghetti noodles
2 bottles of Ragu brand spaghetti sauce, pick two different types for instance: pick one with mushrooms, another with veggies etc (gives more flavor). Later on I will post how to make spaghetti sauce from scratch but it is a long process and most people probably will not want to mess with it.
Italian seasoning shaker
4 garlic cloves (minced)
2 onions (chopped)
More mushrooms if you'd like
Salt & pepper


Mince all of your garlic and chop both onions, set aside.

To prepare meatballs: 
Preheat oven to 350F
Spread your ground beef out flat same with half of the Italian sausage roll, set the Italian sausage on top of the ground beef, sprinkle an even layer of Italian seasoning, 2 cloves of minced garlic and 1 chopped onion, roll the meat mixture up and mix it up good with your hands.
Form the meat mixture into meatballs, I usually make them around an inch and a half thick, make sure you get them all around the same size or it will complicate cooking.

To cook the meatballs:

In a frying pan place 1 tbs of oil and heat on medium high for around 3-4 minutes
Place meatballs in frying pan. (You'll get some smoke, don't worry that's how you know your cooking properly! That fat in the ground beef is where you get your flavor, it is going to heat up into a liquid form and sear back into a solid state while leaving scrumptacular flavor!)
Let them get a good sear and turn them so that each side gets a good sear, cook until you've got a good sear on all sides, don't worry about overcooking we are going to finish them off in the oven just make sure you don't leave them on one side too long and if it's heating up on each side too fast turn your heat down a little but make sure your using enough heat.

Place the meatballs in a baking dish (needs to have sides but no lid) enough room for them to all be on the same level not all bunched in.
Sprinkle with your Italian seasoning, salt & pepper then place in your 350F preheated oven.

(Check on these while cooking the rest of your ingredients. When they are done they should be firm when pressing with your index finger, check my steak article to learn how to easily tell when meats are done)

Now it's time to boil your noodles:

Fill your pot with water put it on the stove on high heat, turn down when your water starts to boil to medium - medium high, throw your noodles in there along with a tsp of oil so the noodles won't stick.
Be sure not to overcook the noodles it is a common mistake and common misconception that you cannot overcook a noodle. You want it done enough so that it has a little texture but not soggy at the same time, taste test while cooking.

Now for the sauce:
Place your Ragu or other brand of sause in a medium pot

(This part is crucial, remember you have TONS of sauce here, you are going to need quite a bit of seasoning to evenly get threw it.)

Add the rest of the minced garlic and chopped onion (should be 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 chopped onion left)
Add 1/4 cup of italian seasoning to start
1 Tsp of salt to start
Couple pinch's of pepper to start

Mix well and taste test, this is where in my opinion spaghetti turns to art. Taste the mixture and add what you think it needs, you may want more garlic and onion (can also put powder form in) or you may need more Italian seasoning. In my opinion good spaghetti should have a good thyme taste which is in your Italian seasoning, you could choose to use fresh thyme or a shaker of that as well but be advised thyme is a very overpowering herb so you want to add that a little at a time. Another key is using enough salt, without it your spaghetti will be bland and flavorless, salt brings out the flavor of all of the ingredients. Season until it suites your tastes but don't be shy with the seasoning, that is the mistake far too many make!

Place noodles on plates, spread sauce on top and add meatballs, don't forget to make some garlic bread or Texas Toast!

Now THAT'S Scrumptious!

To Store:
Place sauce in a covered container along with the meatballs to store in your fridge (The sauce will keep the meatballs fresher)
Place noodles in a separate container.

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