the easiest spaghetti and meatballs

As a working mom, time is something I need to balance on a daily basis. I wish I have tons of time everyday so I can spend hours cooking something elaborate for every meal. The reality is though, the time I can allocate to cooking something is usually short and thus, very often I have to whip up a meal quickly.

I think the key to cooking successfully (and by that I mean to cook varied meals and on a regular basis) in a busy household is to master the art of substitution. It’s fun to make pasta from scratch but it is quicker to use ready-made pasta. It is therapeutic for some (like the LAM) to make and bake his own bread but it is much easier to buy a loaf as and when is needed.

Today I am going to share with you my recipe for Spaghetti with Meatballs. I can cook this dish in a really short space of time. Yep. I cheat. I use store-bought meatballs. Now, for those who pooh-pooh the idea of store-bought, by all means, go ahead and make the meatballs if you so wish. I have also included my recipe for home-made meatballs for those who would like to make them from scratch (see recipe below).

This is one of the dishes in the LAM’s list of comfort food. Ever so often, I will get a, “When are we having spag bog again?” Very aussie.

Meatball Spaghetti 2This is a really simple recipe – and if you like, you can add carrots, zucchini, eggplant or red peppers to the sauce. Simply grate the vegetables or chop them into small cubes so they cook faster.

Start by sauteing the onions in some olive until the onions have turned soft and translucent.

Meatball Spaghetti 3Add the minced garlic and cook a further 30 seconds.

Meatball Spaghetti 4Add the shredded carrots and sliced mushrooms (or any other vegetables that you are using).

Meatball Spaghetti 5

Meatball Spaghetti 6

Once the vegetables have cooked down a little, add wine. Let the wine bubble and cook down a little.

Meatball Spaghetti 7Add tomato puree, and stock or water.

Meatball Spaghetti 8

Meatball Spaghetti 9Add a couple of bay leaves and a sprig of rosemary. You can also substitute with dried herbs if you wish. I usually buy a box of fresh herbs and stick it in the freezer. Each time I need the herbs, I simply take what I need. Note, however, some herbs (like oregano) do not freeze well.

I also will add dried oregano to this, but I had run out of oregano so I omitted it.

Meatball Spaghetti 9Season with salt and black pepper.

Meatball Spaghetti 10
Finally add the meatballs, give everything a good stir, and simmer this (covered) for 20 minutes.

Meatball Spaghetti 11Serve the meatballs on the spaghetti, with grated Parmesan, chili flakes and the chopped parsley, as well as garlic bread, if you like.

Meatball Spaghetti 12Enjoy!

Spaghetti With Meatballs
Serves 4
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For the Meatballs
  1. 800g minced pork or beef - you can also use 400g beef, mixed with 400g pork
  2. 1 cup bread crumbs (store-bought)
  3. 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  4. 2 tsp sea salt
  5. 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  6. 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  7. 2 tsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  8. 1 large egg, beaten
  9. 1/2 cup water
For the Sauce
  1. 1 onion, diced
  2. 3 small carrots, or zucchnni, or small eggplants, grated (optional)
  3. 120g brown (or white) mushrooms, sliced
  4. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 1/2 cup (120ml)red or white wine - For red wines, I prefer Shiraz or Merlot but use whatever wine you are drinking (not Rose); for white wines, I prefer Chardonnay.
  6. 1 can (29oz) tomato puree
  7. 1/4 cup (60ml) stock or water
  8. 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt - I use Kosher
  9. 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  10. 2 bay leaves
  11. 1 sprig rosemary
  12. 1 teaspoon dried oregano
To Serve
  1. 1 packet spaghetti, or instant spaghetti, or linguini, cooked according to the manufacturer's instructions
  2. Parmesan, grated
  3. Some flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  4. Chili flakes
For the meatballs
  1. In a mixing bowl, place all the ingredients.
  2. Using your hands, mix the ingrdients and form meatballs about the size of ping-pong balls.
  3. Either (a) shallow fry the meatballs in batches in olive oil until they are brown on all sides, and set aside; or (b) place the meatballs on a lined baking sheet, spray with vegetable oil, and bake at 180C for about 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are brown and cooked through.
For the Sauce
  1. Start by sauteing the onions in some olive until the onions have turned soft and translucent.
  2. Add the minced garlic and cook a further 30 seconds.
  3. Add the shredded carrots and sliced mushrooms (or any other vegetables that you are using).
  4. Once the vegetables have cooked down a little, add wine. Let the wine bubble and cook down a little.
  5. Add tomato puree, and stock or water.
  6. Add a couple of bay leaves and a sprig of rosemary. You can also substitute with dried herbs if you wish. I usually buy a box of fresh herbs and stick it in the freezer. Each time I need the herbs, I simply take what I need. Note, however, some herbs (like oregano) do not freeze well.
  7. I also will add dried oregano to this, but I had run out of oregano so I omitted it.
  8. Season with salt and black pepper.
  9. Finally add the meatballs, give everything a good stir, and simmer this (covered) for 20 minutes.
  10. Serve the meatballs on the spaghetti, with grated Parmesan, chili flakes and the chopped parsley, as well as garlic bread, if you like.
Notes
  1. For the quick version, I used meatballs from Ikea.
  2. If you are using Method 3(a), cook the meatballs with the sauce for 25-30 minutes to ensure that the meatballs are cooked through.
  3. If you are using Method 3(b), cook the meatballs with the sauce for 10-15 minutes as they are already cooked and only need to be heated through.
The Domestic Goddess Wannabe http://thedomesticgoddesswannabe.com/




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