Chatelaine Kitchen

Sunday pasta and meatballs

The recipe for cooking the perfect spaghetti sauce on a leisurely afternoon

Sometimes you just want to spend your whole Sunday afternoon leisurely preparing a supper right from scratch, while sipping on wine and catching up with friends (or is that just me?)

Recently I decided to make a big batch of spaghetti and meatballs in tomato sauce ‘ all from scratch. Here’s me in the midst of happy cooking day. I started by making a tomato sauce:

Saute 1 finely chopped onion in a bit of olive oil until softened, about 5 min. Add 6 minced garlic cloves. Stir in a heaping tbsp (15 mL) dried herbs (I used some of my Mom’s dried homegrown herbs and added those ‘a mix of thyme, basil and rosemary.) Then put two cans of plum tomatoes in a very large bowl and crush with your hands. Stir into onion mixture along with the juices, one 56 mL can of tomato paste, 2 tsp (10 mL) sugar and a tsp (5 mL) salt. Reduce heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally until thick and flavourful. Taste and add more seasonings if you like. Let this cook while you prepare the rest of the meal.

Note: If you don’t have the whole afternoon, skip the homemade sauce and just try my meatball recipe (below) with your favourite store-bought pasta sauce.

Then it was time to make the meatballs:

In a large bowl, whisk an egg, with 1 tbsp (15 mL) Dijon, a little salt, lots of freshly ground black pepper and about 2 tbsp (30 mL) to ¼ cup (50 mL) fresh thyme leaves (this may depend on how tired you get of picking the thyme leaves!) Whisk together. Crumble in 1 lb (454 g) medium ground beef. (You can use lean but let’s face it, medium just tastes better.) Sprinkle in about 1/3 cup (75 mL) freshly grated Parmigiana Reggiano.  Using your hands, gently mix together. Heat oil in a frying pan, then roll meat into balls, adding to the pan as you go. I like to roll mini meatballs ¾ in. (1.5 cm) big ‘ about the size of a jumbo olive. Cook, turning as they become golden, until balls are golden all around. Then add to the simmering tomato sauce.

I also made homemade pasta but I will save that recipe for another day since that’s a whole post in itself. These recipes will work very well with store-bought fresh pasta.  Instead of spaghetti I suggest thick noodles ‘ such as fettuccine or tagitelle about ½ in. thick (1 cm). This is a good cheat if you’re short on time or don’t have a pasta machine.

I’m totally looking forward to eating the leftovers tonight!