Once again I was faced with the perpetual dilemma of what to make for dinner tonight. I had in my refrigerator an onion, garlic, parsley, and ground beef. My pantry was even more pathetic, but at least I had a can of diced tomatoes and a box of dried spaghetti noodles. So spaghetti it would have to be. I confess… I don’t really like spaghetti or any other red sauce pasta for that matter. The primary reasons are:
1. Growing up in a family of 6 kids we ate a lot of Ragu spaghetti from a jar.
2. After the birth of all three of my children people often brought over meals, 99% of them some type of red sauce pasta.
3. Many years back, a few of my friends and I tried group cooking for a months’ worth of meals. This was a bad idea. Very bad. I ended up coming home with 20 different types of red sauce pasta meals, all but 2 went into the trash. And for the record, I contributed none of them.
I suppose I would enjoy spaghetti more if jarred sauce didn’t taste like glorified ketchup. Using some olive oil, sauteed onions, garlic, and a can of diced tomatoes I was able to make a lighter than your store bought sauce and the end result was wonderful. It is so simple yet so delicious. Even though its not obvious by the picture, adding a lot of parsley added a wonderful earthy flavor and balanced everything out. So don’t skimp out on the parsley! Enjoy.
* 1 pound ground beef
* 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
* 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
* 2 tbs. olive oil
* ½ cup of bread crumbs
* ½ cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
* 2 large eggs
* ½ tsp of oregano
* ½ tsp of basil
* 1 ½ tsp of salt
Cook onions and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
Preheat oven to 400°.
In a large bowl, add the onion/garlic mixture and all the other ingredients. Incorporate everything by hand until well mixed. Firmly form 2”meatballs by hand.
Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium-high heat. Brown meatballs and place on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes in the oven.
Prepare Tomato sauce while meatballs are baking:
* 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
* 1 medium onions, finely chopped
* 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
* 1 tbs. of basil
* 1 tsp of salt
* 1 tsp black pepper
* 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 cup of finely chopped parsley.
Cook onions and garlic in oil in a pot over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Stir in tomatoes with juice reserved in a separate bowl. Simmer sauce, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened for 10 minutes. Add salt, pepper, oregano, basil, and half of the reserved liquid until sauce reduces for 5 minutes. *Add parsley at the end for garnish.
Putting it all together:
Cook a 1 lb box of spaghetti to al dente, drain, and plate it. Place a few spoonfuls of sauce on top of the noodles followed by a couple tablespoons of parsley and grated cheese. Place a meatball on top and serve.