Spaghetti is a staple in my house. It was also one of the 3 things that I could safely make when I got married. At that time it was sauce out of a jar, noodles out of a box, and fake cheese over all of it. I remember those days. LOL. Almost 10 years later, its a bit more elaborate but still feeds my family. It is still that comforting meal I remember just healthier and welll fake cheese is out. Yuck.
There are a lot of ways to make meatballs and a lot of ways to make spaghetti. This is just one. It works for me. I love cutting into the huge meatballs to find melted flowing cheese inside. Its like opening a present at the table that you get to do 3 or 4 times in one sitting. Like the cheese lovers version of a lava cake. I also love that part of the sauce is homemade with a ton of healthy good for you vegetables and my favorite red wine. I don't even defrost the sauce just put it in the pan frozen. Okay that sounds lazy but I am just sayin' this is what really happens in my house. I also have to hide the string cheese that i cut up for this dish under a towel so little fingers don't eat them before I can use them.
This is one of my favorite Rachael Ray recipes that I have slowly adapted over the years. You can find the original here, if you are curious. I think you are going to love this! My husband raves about it every time I make it. My three year old thinks its a magic trick since he sees the cheese go into the meatball but doesn't know why or how it melts when it comes on his plate.
Feeds 4 people
1/4 cup of panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup of milk
|had to mix a bit more panko bread crumbs into this last one|
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 (string cheese) mozzarella cheese sticks cut into 5 pieces each
1/2 lb ground beef
14.5 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes
1 1/2 cups of smooth red pasta sauce (click on title for sauce recipe for this freezer friendly helper)
grated parm cheese
thin whole wheat pasta noodles (approx 1/4-1/2 box)
1 Tbs minced garlic
handful of flat leaf parsley chopped (1/8 cup)
1/2 cup of water
1. Make the breadcrumbs. Mix the egg and milk together in a small bowl. Let the breadcrumbs join the party and just let them sink and absorb some of the liquid.
2. In a large sauce pan, heat the oil and saute the garlic for approx 2 minutes until its golden. Add the frozen red pasta sauce and can of tomatoes. Stir and help the pasta sauce start to melt and defrost. Add the water to help thin it down. Keep over medium low heat and heat through.
3. Start boiling a pot of water for the pasta. Salt it.
4. Make 10 meatballs using ground beef, salt, pepper, parsley, and the egg mixture. Shape the round meatballs around the pieces of cheese. This is easy and fun. If you have a kid around let them help you. They will think its neat.
5. In a medium skillet brown the meatballs with a couple tsp of olive oil until they are brown on all sides. Medium heat. Should take only 3 or 4 minutes. Move them around with spoon. Once browned add the meatballs into the skillet with the red sauce to finish cooking. Simmer for 20 minutes. Note: The browning part in a skillet part is optional. I have made this by putting the meatballs directly into the sauce but it just takes a bit longer, some of the meatballs tend to fall apart if you aren't careful, and you lose the texture that frying them for a just a minute will bring. Its up to you....
6. Cook the pasta.
7. Serve pasta with sauce and meatballs. Top each plate with a generous handful of mozzarella and parm cheeses.
8. Eat & Enjoy!
From my kitchen to yours