February 1, 2009

Spaghetti and Meatballs

My spaghetti is different each time I make it based on what's in the refrigerator at the time. I'm liable to toss in almost any little bit of leftover (of which we seem to have lots!). For once, I wanted to measure the ingredients to get a black and white of a 'real' recipe for one of my favorites... spaghetti and meatballs. In fact, spaghetti would have to be my choice for my last meal. (I love that site. Some might think it's maudlin, but it really is only a list of food memories... what made us feel good in good times).

You can find the recipe here, but I'll give it to you in pictures here:
Chop some fresh parsley. Fresh adds so much to the flavor.
Add the parsley and some chopped onion to one pound of hamburger. In this case I'm using venison burger. Venison contains little fat and can be on the dry side, so a mixture of half venison and half pork is actually better.
Add some smoked paprika, granulated garlic and freshly ground black pepper. You can get about a dozen 2" meatballs from a pound of meat.
Put a couple tablespoons of olive oil into a frying pan and add the meatballs. Roll them around until they're brown on all sides (are there sides to a ball?) Remove them from the pan because now we're going to make the sauce.
In the same pan, put one (or two) anchovy filets. I wasn't going to mention this because I was afraid I'd lose some of you but trust me, you won't even taste them and they will add so much flavor to the sauce. Let the anchovies melt then add chopped onion, sliced mushrooms, granulated garlic, a bay leaf, freshly ground black pepper and chopped basil. Let the mushrooms cook down then add a little bit of white wine. Simmer for a few minutes. Add one (29 oz) can of tomato sauce and 2 tablespoons of tomato paste.
When you open a can of tomato paste and use a few tablespoons, what do you do with the rest of it? Here's a tip... one I use all the time. Put a few tablespoons of tomato paste in a plastic container, put a cover on it and keep it in the freezer. They will get icy, but it doesn't matter. When you need some tomato paste it will pop right out of the plastic and doesn't take any time to thaw in your sauce.
Return the meatballs to the sauce (remember, they're not completely cooked yet). Leave these on a very slow simmer for a half-hour to an hour. Cook up your favorite pasta and...
...light the candles - you're ready for dinner!


  1. Spaghetti and meatballs is one of my favorites too. I love the idea of venison for them, I wish I knew a hunter! :)

  2. This looks delicious. You almost lost me at anchovy, though... :)

  3. Yum. I'll bet a double batch, and freezing the extras, will make this a super week day meal.

    Thanks for sharing it.

  4. Bob's Dad: Yeah, my gardener happens to be my hunter, too, so we have a freezer full of the stuff. Maybe I should have a venison giveaway! :)

  5. You really can't go wrong with spaghetti and meatballs, your version looks delicious!

  6. Yum, sounds delicious Karen! And they look so pretty on your blue and white... I'm a huge fan of blue and white china. :)

    Your new background colors and header look fabulous, too!

  7. A classic! That is one mighty meal!

  8. Maybe it's my browser, but those are the purplest meatballs I've ever seen. Is ground venison generally purple?

  9. Ooh I like the idea of using anchovies instead of sea salt, probably a little smoother. No mushrooms in mine though. Sauce is one of those things that everyone makes just a little bit different huh? I use my Grandmother's recipe but have not looked at it in years and I'm sure mine is now a completely different variation. Yum, yum, yum I know what we're having tonight!

  10. Thanks, Mari - I'm really not a 'pink' person, so will probably change it after Valentines Day :)

    Suldog - venison meat is quite red but not purple (eww). I may have gotten carried away with my photo touchups :)

  11. Funny, I was sitting here on your page when your comment on my taco post popped up.

    I know what you mean about the anchovies - I had to convince Steve he wouldn't taste them in a fishy way, but they added a great flavor. Now I use them in sauce and tuna salad.

    are there sides to a ball?

    Huh. And you just know any recipe you looked at for the meatballs would totally say it that way. Haha.

    Everything looks lovely. And thanks for the tomato paste tip!

  12. Spag and MB is one of my favorite meals. Love the tip about the paste, I hate wasting it. I do try to buy it in the tube but it is so hard to find that way.

  13. I love spaghetti and meatballs - this dish is calling my name.

  14. Oh, that looks divine! Makes me long to be back home, where there was always a supply of fresh game from family and neighbors.


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