Inspired by David Venable’s love of comfort foods and his new cook book In the Kitchen with David: Comfort Foods That Take You Home, I decided to share one of my favorite comfort foods with you: spaghetti and meatballs.
I make this year round, but when I prepare it in the fall and winter, it reminds me of when I was young and my mother made it. The closed kitchen windows would steam up as she boiled the pasta, and I would draw pictures in the condensation. Then, while the sauce was simmering on the stove and Mom wasn’t looking, I’d snitch a piece of sandwich bread from the breadbox and dip it in the sauce. Yummo!
The beauty of preparing the spaghetti sauce and meatballs is ease: you use one pan for both, thereby saving some cleanup time. I use a Cook’s Essentials® lidded stock pot that I got as part of our Customer Top Rated set,but you can also use the 4 1/2-quart lidded sauté pan.
Because the sauce recipe calls for tomato paste instead of crushed tomatoes, it has a smooth consistency and rich flavor. You’ll make the meatballs first, so be sure to use a pot or pan big enough to accommodate the sauce.
Meatballs (How many this makes depends on how big you like your meatballs. I like mine between a golf ball and tennis ball, so I get about 6)
1 lb ground beef (I use 80/20)
1/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup bread crumbs (unseasoned)
2 tbsp olive oil
- Mix all ingredients and form into meatballs (if you run your hands under water first, the mixture won’t stick to them).
- Place olive oil in a pan and heat over medium heat. Add meatballs and brown on all sides, turning carefully (I use a tongs). Leave the oil and meat drippings in the pan.
- Remove meatballs and place on a plate lined with paper towel.
Spaghetti Sauce (I use frozen chopped peppers and onions, which eliminates prep time. Makes about 7 cups)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup frozen onions
1/2 cup frozen green peppers
2 large garlic cloves, diced
3 cups water
24 oz tomato paste (unseasoned)
1 tsp crushed oregano leaves
1/2 tsp crushed basil leaves
2 bay leaves
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup red wine
- In the same pan you used for the meatballs, add the olive oil to the meatball drippings and sauté the onions, garlic, and peppers over medium heat until garlic is cooked. Remember that the frozen vegetables contain water and may cause the oil to spatter.
- Remove from heat and add the water and tomato paste. Stir to blend the ingredients and return to heat. Stir in the next six ingredients. Add the wine and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer and carefully add the meatballs to the sauce. Cook for one hour.
- Remove bay leaves and serve over pasta of your choice.
Everyone has their own special spaghetti sauce recipe (some even call it “gravy”). Is it one you created or was passed down to you? If you’d like to share it, send it to QVCInsider@QVC.com. I’ll choose one, make it, and feature it in an upcoming blog.
Editor, InsideQ magazine