Savory, Uncategorized

January 6, 2014

Real Meatballs and Spaghetti, Barefoot Contessa

Ina Garten is one of my favorite chefs, and every recipe I have made of hers always turns out fabulous. This recipe for Real Meatballs and Spaghetti, from Barefoot Contessa Family Style (2002) is no different. A perfect weekend meal, this recipe feeds a crowd and makes great leftovers throughout the week. Ina’s recipes are so marvelous because she uses simple and fresh ingredients every time. Use the finest quality of everything you can, as it really makes all the difference. 
What makes this recipe so grand is the meatballs, and adding the red wine to the sauce. Three different types of meat are used and then traditional and simple ingredients bring them together. By adding a little red wine to the sauce, it really brings out the other flavors and adds a twist on the Italian classic. A perfect meal for a cold winter day – don’t forget the merlot!

For the meatballs
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1 cup fresh white bread crumbs (4 slices, crusts removed)
1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 extra-large egg, beaten
Vegetable oil
Olive oil
For the sauce
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup good red wine, such as Chianti
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, or plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For serving:
1 1/2 pounds spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
Freshly grated Parmesan
  1. Place the ground meats, both bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg, and 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl. Combine very lightly with a fork. Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 2-inch meatballs. You will have 14 to 16 meatballs.
  2. Pour equal amounts of vegetable oil and olive oil into a large (12-inch) skillet to a depth of 1/4-inch. Heat the oil. Very carefully, in batches, place the meatballs in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium-low heat, turning carefully with a spatula or a fork. This should take about 10 minutes for each batch. Don’t crowd the meatballs. Remove the meatballs to a plate covered with paper towels. Discard the oil but don’t clean the pan.
  3. For the sauce, heat the olive oil in the same pan. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper.
  4. Return the meatballs to the sauce, cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through. Serve hot on cooked spaghetti and pass the grated Parmesan.


    May 8th, 2023 at 3:06 pm

    I have made this and it’s the best recipe I have ever tasted for meatballs and spaghetti. I’m making it this weekend for my neighbor who’s turning 94 this week. The perfect meal for an old Italian man of 94 years. Thank you for this amazing recipe. Kathy Riviere

  2. Molly Shapiro

    June 9th, 2023 at 7:56 pm

    Thank you Kathy! Glad you enjoy it.

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