One of the reasons I wanted to start a blog was so that I can share my favorite, family-friendly recipes with other families. I know that we all want to feed our kids home-cooked meals. I know that we care about what we’re putting into their little bodies. But man, it’s hard sometimes. I have three kids. I have a job. There are nights that the last thing I want to do is cook. So that’s why I try to make recipes that won’t leave you feeling drained after a long day. Recipes that don’t require 50 extra ingredients at the grocery store. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a foodie. I like cooking ridiculous stuff sometimes. But I need to have easy, crowd-friendly recipes in my arsenal as well. Because the last thing I want to hear after a long day is how much some grumpy kid hates my cooking. That’s why I’m sharing this recipe for spaghetti and meatballs. My kids don’t complain. They ask for thirds.
This recipe for my best ever spaghetti and meatballs with five ingredient meatball sauce hits all my marks. It’s easy. My kids love it. Plus, it is insanely good. The meatball sauce is based on Marcella Hazan’s famous 3-ingredient tomato sauce: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1015178-marcella-hazans-tomato-sauce. This sauce has a cult-like following. And for good reason. It is simply one of the tastiest spaghetti sauces I’ve ever tried. I followed Marcella’s lead with my meatballs and kept them simple as well. The meatballs and the sauce together only require five ingredients (I’m not including salt and pepper because five-ingredient meatball sauce sounds better than seven-ingredient sauce, so I’m going with that). Sure, you can gussy it up if you want. But you don’t have to, and it will still be delicious. And that, my friends, is a beautiful thing.
I posted my instant pot version of this recipe a while back: http://www.thekitchn.com/marcella-hazans-amazing-4ingre-144538
But to be honest, I will never give up my oven and stove-top version. The meatballs get all richly browned in the oven and the sauce gets such a rich flavor on the stove. Plus, I can put it together just about as quickly as the instant pot version because I cook my meatballs and sauce at the same time. I’ll still use the instant pot version when it’s hot out and I don’t want to turn on the oven. But in the wintertime, this recipe is still my baby.
Step One: Turn on the oven to 400 degrees. Peel back the skin of a large onion. Using a cheese grater, grate half of the onion into a bowl. My dear friend from Morocco taught me the genius technique of grating onion into my meatball mix. It helps bind the meat mixture together without having to use an egg. Also, it gives a delicious, delicate onion flavor to the entire meatball.
Step Two: Place your remaining half of onion in a pot with one 28-ounce can of pureed tomatoes, five tablespoons of unsalted butter and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Turn heat to high until bubbly. Stir, then cover and turn heat to low, stirring occasionally to prevent catching.
Step Three: Put a large pot of water on to boil for cooking pasta.
Step Four: While you’re bringing your sauce up to a simmer, assemble your meatballs. Finely chop a small handful of flat parsley. Add the parsley, one to one and a half pounds of ground beef, a half teaspoon of salt and a couple turns of fresh black pepper. Mix the meatball mixture together. Form meatballs and cook in a large roasting pan or on a cookie sheet in the oven for 20 minutes.
Step Five: Add salt to boiling pasta water (a couple tablespoons). While your meatballs cook, cook one package of spaghetti until al dente.
Step Six: Take meatballs out of the oven and put into sauce. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. Add cooked pasta and mix it together. Serve with grated parmesan cheese.
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