Pasta w/ Jumbo Meatballs
I love pasta. It's a great comfort food. However, the typical spaghetti and meatballs in many households have become jarred and frozen concoctions thrown together in a pot. Nothing will ever compare to the homemade version. This recipe for Pasta w/ Jumbo Meatballs is a recipe I assure you will become a family staple.
Making sauce from scratch can be intimidating. The key is to let it simmer long enough that all the flavors meld together to make outstanding flavor.
My sauce has an ingredient that people might find odd in a pasta sauce, but it helps to cut through the acidity of the tomatoes and give it a hint of sweetness. SUGAR. Yes! Sugar. This is also the reason, besides trying to throw in some veggies for the kids, I add carrots. When cooked, carrots have a sweet taste that also lends to the slight sweetness in the sauce.
Many vegetables, when sauteed with aromatics like onions and garlic let out a sweetness that gives the pasta sauce that nice balance with the acidity of the tomatoes. Try to add vegetables like zucchini, all colors of bell peppers, and even yellow squash.
Pasta w/ jumbo meatballs is true family style meal. It's a simple meal with ingredients easily found in grocery stores across the nation, and it's affordability is great for any and all budgets.
A couple weeks ago, my cousin and her family came over for Sunday lunch and this was what I made alongside a simple salad and garlic bread. It was such a simple meal, pasta w/ jumbo meatballs, but the reaction to it from the kids and adults alike was outrageous!
Try this recipe for you and your family and create memories around the dinner table. :)
- For the meatballs:
- 1.5 lbs of ground beef
- 2 tsp garlic – finely chopped
- 3/4 cup of Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- 1 TBL of salt
- 1 tsp of pepper
- 2 tsp of fresh chopped Italian (flat leaf) Parsley
- For the sauce:
- 2 TBL of olive oil
- 1/2 green bell pepper – diced
- 1 carrot -diced
- 1 yellow onion – diced
- 1 28 oz can of peeled & crushed tomatoes
- 1 TBL of dried thyme
- 1 TBL or dried oregano
- 1 tsp of red pepper flakes
- 1 TBL of salt
- 2 TBL of granulated sugar
Boil a pot full of water, adding 2 TBL of salt to flavor the pasta.
In a large, deep sauce pot, heat 2 TBL of olive oil in medium-high heat. Brown the meatballs. It is not important to cook the meatballs all the way through because you will be finishing cooking it in the sauce. The important thing is to give it a nice brown color and form a crust on the exterior of the meatballs. Once the meatballs have been browned on all sides, set aside.
In the same pot, add the onions, garlic, carrots and green bell peppers and saute in meduim-low heat. “Sweat the onions”, meaning let it cook slowly so that they become tender and not burn and the flavors come out.
Add the dried thyme and oregano. Because I am using dried herbs, it is key to let them bloom, so adding them early in the cooking process allows for that to happen. If I was using fresh herbs, I would have put them in after the tomato sauce was added. Also, dried herbs are more potent in flavor that fresh herbs, so use less.
After the vegetables have become tender, add the crushed tomatoes, salt and red pepper flakes. Simmer at low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
After 20 minutes, add 2 TBL of sugar and carefully place the browned meatballs in the sauce stirring it in with the sauce gently so that they do not break. Simmer it for another 15 minutes to let the flavors combine together.
At this point, add the pasta into the boiling, salted water and cook for 8-10 minutes, until the pasta is al dente. Take the pasta out and place it in a large pasta serving bowl. Drizzle it with a little olive oil to prevent from sticking together.