Spaghetti & Meatballs




A classic, right? One I’d never tried my hand at. But I’ve been craving spaghetti in a real bolognese sauce since before I made that last lasagna a couple of months ago, and I was desperate for pasta and meat in a red sauce.


But the Woman on the Verge, she no like-a the meats. She like-a the tofus.


So, I decided I could make the pasta, the sauce, and have meat balls for me and the girl, and faux balls for the woman, and everyone would be happy.






I stole from SmittenKitchen, who stole from Ina Garten.


So sue me.







Meatballs and Spaghetti
Adapted liberally from Ina Garten

Serves 6

For the meatballs: 
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1 1/4 cups fresh white bread crumbs (about 5 slices, crusts removed)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 extra-large egg, beaten
Vegetable oil
Olive oil


For the Faux balls:


everything like above, just start with textured ground tofu.

also, double the egg.



For the sauce:
2tbs good olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onion (2 onions)
3 teaspoons minced garlic
Big, generous pinch of red pepper flakes
1 cup good red wine
1 (28-ounce) can pureed tomatoes
1 (28-ounce) can chopped or diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For serving: 
1 1/2 pounds spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
Freshly grated Parmesan


Make the meatballs: Place the ground meats, bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, onion powder, egg, and 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl. Combine very lightly with a fork. Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 2-inch meatballs. You will have 14 to 16 meatballs. (Or perhaps 24, which is what I ended up with. I’m sorry I cannot give you a more precise measure; I am sure your amount will fall somewhere in the middle.)

















Pour equal amounts of vegetable oil and olive oil into a large (12-inch) skillet to a depth of 1/4-inch. Heat the oil. Very carefully, in batches, place the meatballs in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium-low heat, turning carefully with a spatula or a fork. This should take about 10 minutes for each batch. Don’t crowd the meatballs. Remove the meatballs to a plate covered with paper towels. Discard the oil but don’t clean the pan.










Make the sauce: Heat the olive oil in the same pan. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook for 1 more minute. Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper.

Return the meatballs to the sauce, cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through. (The good news is that if, say, you’re still waiting for your pot of water to boil for the spaghetti when the meatballs are ready, it’s hard to overcook these. I ended up simmering ours a whole extra 20 to 30 minutes, and they were not in the least dried out. Heaven!)

Serve hot on cooked spaghetti and pass the grated Parmesan.



(stolen photo, not mine. i was so hungry i forgot to shoot the plated meal. My bad.) This is almost what it looked like, though.)




This was a wonderful meal, shared with my stepdad and with leftovers sent home with him to feed my mom, who had to work late and missed the fun.





I might have had too much wine while cooking, but it seemed like the thing to do in the moment.





The meatballs were heavenly. The faux balls met with rave reviews from the Woman on the Verge.


Your results may vary.











One thought on “Spaghetti & Meatballs

  1. Ms. Moon says:

    When my kids were growing up I had one of everything around- the vegan, the vegetarian, the I-can’t-get-enough-meat. I learned to do like this- make some of each. If I was in a generous mood. Sometimes I just went for the vegan and let it go and really, no one cared that much.
    It’s a gift to the ones we love to cook according to their needs. It’s a gift to ourselves to also cook what we need.
    Cooking- it’s just a gift.
    You are gifted.

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