Classic Italian spaghetti meatballs

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Original Italian spaghetti with meatballs in tomato sauce

Spaghetti doesn’t have to be boring, there are so many different flavours you can use to vary the seasoning and sauce base. This is a classic Italian beef meat ball recipe distinguished by the addition of lemon zest. The meat balls are braised in a saucepan before adding to the tomato sauce, giving rich caramalized flavour to the meat balls. As with many Italian dishes the rich tomato sauce is flavoured with oregano leaves.

Cooking tips:

  • To get tender meatballs, add bread while mixing the mince.
  • The secret to flavorful meatballs lies in using a combination of meat. Buy lean ground beef with at least 7% to 15% fat content as it enhances the taste of the dish and provides a contrasting texture. You can use a mixture of veal and pork with beef. You can also substitute chicken or turkey or chicken as a healthier option. You can also use Italian sausage meat. Just remove the casing and use the sausage.
  • Broil the meatballs before you simmer them in the tomato puree. This keeps the meat together in shape and enhances the surface, texture and taste. Don’t forget to flip the meatball cooked under the broiler to get both sides browned equally. It introduces a number of flavours and aromas to the dish.
  • Only add freshly grated parmesan. If you use pre-packaged shredded cheese, then make sure its threads are fine.
  • Avoid using garlic in the meatballs as well as the sauce.
  • Do not mix the meatball mixture more than needed, as it will make your meatballs tough.
  • You can boil 1 pound of spaghetti at one time in case you have a small pot.
  • Follow all the instructions mention on the package to boil the spaghetti.
  • Simmering meatballs for a longer time in the sauce allows the liquid to entice the appetizing flavours when added to the meat.
  • Make sure the sauce is thick, so it clings to the noodles. You can adjust its consistency with water or beef stock.

What can you serve Italian spaghetti meatballs with?

You can serve Italian spaghetti meatballs with Focaccia bread, Caprese salad, grilled veggies, tomato salad with balsamic vinaigrette, and spinach and strawberry salad.

Should you bake the meatballs or fry them?

For making meatballs, the meat is mixed with egg and bread to keep it together. So, none of the options will affect the taste or texture. However, frying can help you cook meatballs quickly, and baking can help you cut in calories.

Spices used in this recipe

  • Celery Salt Seasoning – Mild

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    Celery Salt Seasoning – Mild

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    Seasoned salts have become a popular and healthier alternative way to season all manner of dishes. Our blend has celery seeds, sea salt, thyme, sage, oregano, onion, garlic and pepper. They add a tasty flavour without being spicy or dominating the dish. The use of celery salt seasoning means less salt is needed to bring out the flavour of the dish.

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  • Oregano Leaves

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    Oregano Leaves

    Product description

    Oregano, one of the most popular herbs worldwide, is a member of the mint family and often called wild marjoram. It is a small herb with dark-green leaf and is known for its bold, warm, balsamic herb flavour, with a slightly bitter taste. Its strong flavour marries well with tomato and basil making it a vital ingredient for authentic Italian and Greek cooking. It is also perfect addition to garlic for the Mediterranean, Philippine and Mexican cuisine.

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  • Pepper Black Ground

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    Pepper Black Ground

    Product description

    Black Pepper is picked from the flowering vine of the peppercorn plant and is the most pungent and flavoursome variety of Pepper. Black peppercorns are picked green and then dried to 12% moisture content. When ground, its grey in colour as the seed inside is white. It has a woody flavour with a spicy heat and it is used in all cultures and types of cuisine especially in Moroccan and Middle East cooking. Pepper is used in all cultures and all types of cuisine. Also, it is known for improving digestion.

    The Spice People carry these pepper products: pepper black whole, pepper black ground, pepper black cracked, pepper white whole, pepper white ground, pepper green whole, pepper lemon, pepper mill mix.

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Method

  1. To make the meatballs: Combine all the meatball ingredients into a large bowl. Using your hands’ mix thoroughly, kneading the mixture until sticky enough to form small golf ball size balls. Use your hands to form the meatballs, using enough pressure to keep the ball shape. Cover with glad wrap and refrigerate for 15 min, while you prepare the sauce base.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a deep-dish pan, add the onion and garlic and saute until translucent approx 5 min. Stir in the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, oregano, sugar and simmer to let the flavors develop approx 10 min. If the sauce is too thick, a little water may be added.

  3. In a separate saucepan, heat the oil and add the meatballs. Saute until the meatballs are browned well on each side. Reduce the heat and add the tomato sauce to the meatballs, simmer a further 10 min.

  4. Cook the pasta as per packet instructions.
    Serve the spaghetti meatballs with pasta and garnish with parmesan and oregano.

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