Sunday, January 17, 2010

Spinny-Spin Pasta and Balls

AKA Spaghetti and Meatballs. To get the kids to eat it though it has taken on this new name. This is one of my favorite Sunday dinners to make because its very nostaligc for me. It reminds me of Sunday dinners in my house growing up. It's a little too labor intensive for a weekday but just right for a Sunday like today.

Today is the perfect Sunday to chill... I took the day off after a fast (for me), long (for me) run yesterday morning with the club. Now it is rainy and cold, and there's football on (perfect for napping), Zach is napping while Drew is playing quietly and I'm in my sweats. Will someone come over and make me spinny-spin pasta for dinner while I take a little nap??

Spaghetti Sauce (recipe from my Italian Nana - don't tell her I used Kraft Parm)

3 cans of whole tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
2 carrots (this is not part of her recipe, I add it for the kid's sake)
Spices: parsley, basil, oregano, paprika, white sugar, parm cheese (fresh is preferred!), garlic powder, salt, black pepper, 2 bay leaves.
Now drain the liquid from all three cans of whole tomatoes into a sauce pan. Add the whole tomatoes to a blender. Dont skip this, it really makes the sauce the perfect consistency.
Grate two carrot sticks and add to the blender. Puree grated carrots and whole tomatoes until smooth, and then add to reserved liquid in sauce pan. Add the 1 can of tomato sauce.
Now this is the way Nana told me so this is the way I tell you... add enough of all of the spices to cover the top so barely any red peeks through. I will say from trial and error to go easy on the oregano and sugar - 2 dashes of oregano goes a long way. And 1 shallow spoonful of sugar is plenty. The carrots add some natural sweetness of their own.
Now bring to a slow boil, reduce to a simmer and cover. Let this simmer and smell good while you make...
The Meatballs
You will need
1 pound lean ground beef (we've been buying our meat from a butcher in Middleburg who sells meat from a local farm in Upperville. I don't buy the classic meatball mixture of beef, veal and pork because they don't sell it. But use what you want!)
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 egg
1/3 cup warm water
3/4 cup FRESHLY GRATED PARM (I know I used Kraft because I was out, but it makes all the difference between DRY meatballs and MOIST meatballs)
spices: salt, oregano, basil, garlic
Mix all your ingredients together. Add a little more bread crumbs if meatballs are too liquidy (made up word), but they should be somewhat liquidy so they are not dry. Also, you must use your hands to blend, its the only way to get the flavors right :)
Heat a non stick pan with a thin layer of olive oil. When hot, add your meatballs, rolled to about an inch in diameter - I would err on the side of smaller though if you have kids who like the whole concept of "balls" they can eat in one bite!
Just cook long enough so that they are browned on all sides, then remove from pan and let drain and cool on a paper towel. They might not be 100% cooked through and thats ok.
15 minutes before you are ready to serve, add the meatballs to your simmering spaghetti sauce. Let them cook through in there.
Serve over a big bowl of hot spaghetti and ENJOY! :)


The Recipe Diva said...

I was wondering what 'spinny-spin' pasta would be! Looks yummy and comforting!

The Longendyke Family said...

I grew up with an Italian mother and macaroni & meatballs was a Sunday tradition, too! It's so funny that you posted this because I was just telling Scott that I have to start carrying on the tradition at our home every Sunday. :) I can vividly remember the smell of "gravy" and fried meatballs from bed every Sunday morning. Thanks for sharing this!

Christine Bilek said...

YUM! If I wasn't sucking so badly at blogging lately, I would pass on an awesome sausage and tortelinni soup I have been making...the best part of it is that you shred 2 zuchinni into it, which I have now started doing to my spaghetti sauce too, just to give it a bit more "health appeal" Yesterday was a GREAT day for sweats and naps, I was right there with the sweats, like we ever get to take naps! :o)

Karen and Kevin said...

christine email me the recipe and Ill make it!! if you get around to it :) I suck at blogging but found I actually like blogging about food more than the kids? haha. shannon I love that you called it meatballs and gravy!! so italian!!