Spaghetti with meatballs is a classic family dinner for a few reasons. First of all, it’s easy. That’s something you can never stress enough when you’re cooking for a family. Second, it’s something that kids and grown-ups both love to eat. The flavors are simple enough that picky eaters are generally fine with them (unless they have something against tomatoes), but you can season the sauce so the appeal is still there for adults.
But the most important thing is that it’s a dinner that’s fun for the whole family to make together, and that’s a key reason that this is one of our daughter’s favorite meals. Apart from mincing the garlic, there’s no knifework, (which is good because our three year-old’s knife skills aren’t that advanced. I asked her to fillet a fish the other day and there were like three bones still in it!). But there are lots of easy steps like tearing up bread and fun, messy steps like mixing eggs into ground meat, and precise steps like forming equally sized meatballs that this is a pretty fun dish for kids.
Spaghetti with Meatballs (adapted from The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion and Cooking Manual)
1 1/2 pounds ground pork
1/2 pound ground beef
4 slices bread
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup cracker crumbs
1 quart tomato sauce (homemade or store-bought)
1 lb. spaghetti
Preheat the oven to 325.
Soak the bread in water, then tear it up into very small pieces.
In a bowl, combine the pork, beef, bread, garlic, eggs, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and salt. Mi together with your hands. The mixture should be wet, but not so wet that it’s not shape-able. If it’s too wet, add cracker crumbs until you get the right consistency.
Shape the meat into balls slightly larger than golf balls, put them on baking sheets, and cook them in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
On the stove, heat the tomato sauce. Add the meatballs and simmer for thirty more minutes. Serve over pasta with the remaining Parmesan and a sprinkle of minced fresh herbs.
This dish make a lot of meatballs, which is a good thing since they’re even better on the second day.