Monday, July 7, 2014

Frankies Spuntino Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs is a staple in our home. It's one of our favorites and a true comfort food for us. This recipe is from the Frankies Spuntino cookbook which is apparently a super yummy Italian restaurant in Brooklyn. Unfortunately, I haven't been there (yet) so I get to enjoy this whenever I'm craving pasta and it makes it more bearable :)
The recipe is huge so I cut in half. The tomato sauce is simple and yummy and I'll never make a different one ever again. The meatballs are tender and juicy. David's cousin made this recipe for us a few years ago and I was hesitant about the meatballs because they had pine nuts and raisins in them. They ended up being my favorite ever. The raisins plump up when you cook the meatballs and provide a sweet little bite that goes so great with the rest of the ingredients. This is a true winner!

Here's the ingredients for the meatballs. I mix all of this together and form balls, and then either bake them on a baking sheet until mostly cooked through or in a pan with a little oil until just browned on all sides. Then, either way I've cooked them, I put them in the sauce to finish cooking for an hour or so.
  • 2 slices plain white bread, torn into large pieces (about 2 packed cups)
  • 1 pound ground beef (90 percent lean, no fattier)
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons finely grated Pecorino Romano, plus more for serving
  •  2 Tablespoonscup pine nuts
  • 2 Tablespoons raisins
  • 1  teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup dried plain breadcrumbs

For the sauce:
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 6 medium garlic cloves,chopped
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans high-quality whole tomatoes, I prefer CENTO brand, with juices 
  • 2 teaspoons salt
 Heat the oil in a high sided skillet. Open cans of tomatoes and have them ready. Add garlic and pepper flakes to the warm oil and cook for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and stir. I usually grab some scissors and cut the tomatoes up a little bit (they'll break down because the sauce cooks so long). Add salt. Cover and simmer on low for a few hours. 4 hours is ideal, but 2 should work fine. And the meatballs cook with the sauce for the last hour or so.
I always serve this with spaghetti, but it would work with any pasta, really.