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Spaghetti and Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

Serves 4 to 6

This is the recipe for my favorite spaghetti and meatballs. The meatballs are easy, moist and delicious. It is the same recipe I use to make meatballs without the pasta. You can make them any size desired, but I prefer the meatballs to be smaller than most. The recipe can easily be halved or doubled. It makes more meatballs than you need for one pound of pasta, but leftovers can be frozen for up to six months and make great sandwiches. See the Leftover Meatballs and Tomato Sauce in the similar and related recipes.


   Meatballs    Tomato Sauce

For the meatballs, soak the bread slices in the milk. Squeeze out the excess milk and reserve. Crumble the bread into coarse pieces. Mix the ground beef with the bread, reserved milk, and remaining ingredients except the olive oil. Combine well with hands. Form into 1-inch balls. Heat a large fry pan or sauté pan, large enough to hold the meatballs and sauce, over medium-high heat. Add enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom. When hot, add meatballs in batches and fry until browned on all sides, adding more oil as needed. Remove from pan and set aside.

Remove all but 1/4 cup oil from the pan, or add more olive oil if needed. Add onions and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for one more minute. Add the wine and stir, scraping up any browned bits in the bottom of the pan. Return meatballs to pan with any accumulated juices. Add tomatoes and seasonings. Reduce heat to medium-low and partially cover pan, leaving a little space for steam to escape. Simmer until sauce has thickened and meatballs are thoroughly cooked, about 60 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking and adjusting heat as needed. Remove the lid if a thicker sauce is desired.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. Remove meatballs from sauce and place on a serving plate. Add hot pasta to sauce and toss well for a couple minutes. Serve immediately, passing the meatballs and grated cheese separately.

Notes: Meatballs can be made ahead, browned and refrigerated for up to three days or frozen for several months until needed. Add to the sauce and proceed as directed.