Barefoot Blogger’s Real Meatballs and Spaghetti

February 12th, 2009

The Barefoot Bloggers are a group of foodies who post twice a month on recipes from The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. Each member has a turn picking a dish from one of Ina’s many cookbooks or recipes featured on the Food Network. The first choice for February, Real Meatballs and Spaghetti, was chosen by Rebecca of Ezra Pound Cake. Visit her blog for a funny and informed look at cookery. The reason I became a Barefoot Blogger is because I find Ina Garten’s recipes to be straightforward ( no cream of mushroom soup here), seasonal, and usually delicious. Many of her recipes have become a permanent part of my repertoire. For the most part I liked this recipe. The meatballs were wonderful. I did cut way back on the salt though. To my taste, Ina overdoes the salt. I ended up with 22 meatballs as opposed to her 16. The three meats made for a flavorful combination and the addition of parmesan cheese added an extra tang. My problem was with the sauce. There was not enough of it and the flavor was just so so. If I were to do this again, I would double the sauce and add more aromatic herbs like basil, oregano and thyme. As it was, we had delicious meatballs left over for sandwiches on toasted sourdough bread. Thank you Rebecca! See all of you in two weeks for Meringues Chantilly.


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 ( I used 1/2 teaspoon)
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 teaspoon 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 ( I used less)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For serving:
1 1/2 pounds spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
Freshly grated Parmesan

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.

Pour equal amounts of vegetable oil and olive oil intoa large (12 inch) skillet to a depth of 1/4 inch. ( I used less oil) 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 meatball to a plate covered with paper towels. Discard the oil but don’t clean the pan.

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.

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.

Printable recipe

12 responses to “Barefoot Blogger’s Real Meatballs and Spaghetti”

  1. Barb Bobik says:

    So much fun reading your receipes. To all fellow readers of your blog, I can attest that the receipe for the pie crust can’t be beat. We have, over the years, enjoyed pies that were made with that receipe, and even though I am not a baker, even I am tempted to try. Maybe Moe will – she “loves” to cook and must have gotten that from Grandma Bo, ’cause God knows she didn’t get it from me – but we already knew that! Must send this onto Bill – I know he will enjoy reading it.

  2. Suzie says:

    Welcome to the group. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

  3. Meryl says:

    Welcome Penny! I also wondered about the amount of sauce, but I didn’t want to say anything because I was using my own–I figured I had just guesstimated incorrectly or something.

  4. The Barefoot Bloggers sounds like so much fun. I adore Ina and have all of her cookbooks. I will follow every one of these post with much enthusiasm.

  5. Good job on the post and welcome to the BB’rs. I think I have had better tomato sauces. But I would make the MB’s again. Great Kitchen. My in-laws live in NC too.

  6. Penny,
    Thanks for visiting my blog. Glad to find yours I’ll check back soon!

  7. TNF says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. I agree… not enough sauce!

  9. Penny,
    I think Paula Dean may fry! ha ha!
    PS: Your kitchen is beautiful!

  10. Penny,
    woops! I confused your message with someone else! Yes we did have similar results.. glad I was not alone!
    PS: Your kitchen is still beautiful! :o)

  11. I only made half of the meat mix into meatballs (I got lazy after one batch!), and that was just right for the amount of sauce.

  12. Judy says:

    I agree with you about the sauce. There’s need to be more along with some herbs. I’d also add some tomato paste for structure.

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