There are a few dinners I remember from my childhood that stand out as special. Spaghetti and Meatballs is one of them. I’ve always considered it the quintessential Italian meal. The best thing about spaghetti, besides the fun of eating it, is the joy of sharing this communal meal with friends and family.
Just like my childhood memories, spaghetti and meatballs equals love in our house. It’s comfort food that somehow remains unchanged from generation to generation. Nicky loves it as much as Benny, and I love to watch them eat it…twirling their spaghetti into a spoon, marinara dripping down their chins.
Growing up, simple food and good friends were always most important at our dinner table. This continues to be our recipe for happiness. One day Benny and Nicky will look back at their family dinners with fondness, just as I do.
So this one’s for you, mom. Thank you for a life of family dinners that I’ll always remember. Thank you for setting an example I will forever follow. My family taught me that every meal should be a celebration. That’s amore!
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Taking a few shortcuts, like buying your own sauce and cooking the meatballs in the simmering sauce, will help you get dinner on the table fast and the enjoy the family more.
1 jar (your favorite) marinara sauce
1 pound lean ground beef
1 small onion, grated
½ cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound spaghetti, cooked al dente
4 to 5 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced (garnish)
1 large glass of Chianti for you
Place the sauce in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. In a large bowl, gently combine beef, onion, bread crumbs, cheese, egg, parsley, salt and pepper, and shape into 1 ½-inch meatballs. Place the meatballs in the simmering sauce, cover and cook, turning meatballs over once, for about 20 minutes or until cooked through.
Ladle meatballs and sauce over warm spaghetti. Sprinkle with additional grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and fresh basil (the more the merrier).
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