We eat a lot of pasta around here. I’d like to say it is because my husband is from an Italian family, and, well, it’s genetic, but really? We just love carbs in general. Macaroni, Tortellini, Gnocchi, Lasagna…we could eat it for just about every meal. Seven practically does. He’s two…he can handle the caloric intake. Call CPS on me if you must, but when I get locked up for feeding my kid Velveeta Shells & Cheese on a daily basis I’m gonna know one of you ratted me out.
Growing up, my Mom probably made spaghetti at least once a week. We loved it, my sister and I. Nothing fancy, she’d just boil up some vermicelli (I like the skinny noodles), brown some beef, and dump in a jar of Ragu. The one time she made sauce from scratch? We balked. Staged a coup, you could say. Poor Mom. She immediately went back to Ragu. I can’t blame her…why do the extra work if no one appreciates it? And besides – Ragu ROCKS.
That being said, I still love spaghetti. Any kind, really. Homemade sauce, canned sauce, just gimme the goods. And I really want it to have beef in it. Marinara is okay, but it doesn’t feel like a meal without the meat. I could never be a vegetarian…unless they are allowed red meat and chicken. Speaking of vegetarians, how come some of them can say “Oh, I’m a vegetarian, but I eat fish…” Why is that allowed? Are you a vegetarian because of the diet? Or because you don’t like animal cruelty? I really want to understand…but it just seems like a bandwagon for so many non-committal wannabes. Take me, for example…I am a vegetarian, but I still eat cow. I would hate to think of all the poor cows out there who lost their lives in vain because no one was there to eat them.
But back to the spaghetti.
The other night Jon got off from work early and decided to make one of my favorite vegetarian dishes (remember, I eat cow) – Spaghetti and Meatballs. Not just meatballs…GIANT meatballs. Love these things! They are about the size of a tennis ball – so definitely a knife & forker type of food. By making them so large, you get a nice texture on the outside and yet a slightly less done (not pink, just less done) center that is full of meaty flavor. For the sauce, we go with, um, Ragu…but you know, you could use your homemade sauce if you want to. I won’t judge. This dinner is all about the meatballs, anyway. I just hope you are the same kind of vegetarian that I am.
- 1 Box Vermicelli or other pasta
- 1 can Beef broth
- 3 Tbsp Olive Oil or butter
- 1 whole onion, minced
- 1 egg
- 2 lbs Beef (a higher fat percentage
- 1 Tbsp. Minced Garlic (the wet kind)
- Salt, Pepper, & Italian Seasonings to taste
- 1/2 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
- Oil for frying (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 Jar Ragu or other tomato sauce
- 1 can Rotel Tomatoes
To prepare the Meatballs:
Add butter or oil to large, deep skillet and saute the onions. Remove from heat and scoop out the onions but leave the oil in the skillet. Add the 3/4 cup of oil to the skillet and bring to temperature while you make the meatballs. Keep on medium to medium high, just watch that it doesn’t get too hot on you and burn.
Combine the onions, garlic, seasonings, egg, beef & breadcrumbs in large mixing bowl using your hands. Roll the meatballs to your preferred size – we like very large, tennis ball sized meatballs. Add the meatballs to the hot oil and fry them for around 15-20 minutes. Don’t worry, they will also be cooked with the sauce, so there is no need for them to be cooked all the way at this point. Remove the meatballs and discard the oil.
Return the meatballs to the same skillet (if your skillet has a lid) or to a new pot that does have a lid. We use a cast iron enamel pot to do the entire process in as it works really well and it’s less dishes to clean. Add the tomato sauce and the Rotel tomatoes. Allow to simmer for about 30 minutes on low heat.
15 minutes before meatballs are to be done, boil your noodles in water and beef broth. Drain when al dente and add your meatballs and sauce. Buon Appetito!