There is something extremely comforting and satisfying about a nice big bowl of pasta at a Sunday lunch or dinner. I realize it is an Italian â€œmustâ€ to have pasta on Sunday, usually along with a big gathering of friends and familyâ€¦ It’s a tradition I would gladly adopt, and the same sentiment is true for Mrs. MM and The Kid, as well. I have eaten literally hundreds, and possibly thousands, of servings of spaghetti with tomato sauce, meat sauce, ragu, meatballs and variations thereof in my 40+ years on this planet. My earliest introduction to this wonderful dish was probably before I even reached the age of 1, as sweet spaghetti was already a mainstay of Pinoy childrens birthday parties even in the 1960â€™s. Iâ€™ll admit I occasionally get a hankering for that childhood concoction of â€œsweetishâ€ meatsauce spaghetti (but NO HOTDOGS, please) but most of the time I am partial to a very clean, basic and delicious spaghetti with a plain tomato and basil sauce served with perfectly al dente pasta. If I must have the meat sauce, having it in the form of meatballs is a very nice alternativeâ€¦
Our cook does a really nice and easy version of spaghetti with meatballs. She makes small meatballs out of a mixture of beef and pork (would work well with ground veal as well) with lots of spices such as oregano and dried basil. She gently sautÃ©s these in some olive oil until browned and sets these aside. She then sautÃ©s some onions, a little garlic, adds chopped Italian canned tomatoes, salt and pepper and simmers until the right consistencyâ€¦not more than 15 minutes or so. She adds back the meatballs and gently stirs the sauce and adds shredded basil just as she is turning off the flame. If you want some kick to your meatballs, add some red pepper flakes!
Served on top of spaghetti or linguine cooked al dente, this is comfort food at its best. And a little bit of work can feed a whole lot of folks. Make a simple salad of romaine and a vinaigrette and serve the spaghetti with some nice bread and there are few meals as satisfyingâ€¦ I sometimes make this with fresh tomatoes when I get my hands on really ripe juicy and flavorful tomatoes. But oddly, I think this is one dish where I generally prefer the intensity, consistency and predictability of canned Italian plum tomatoes. I always have at least 5-6 cans of canned plum tomatoes in the pantry at any given time. If you notice from the photos, the sauce is still somewhat bright, not the darkish dull look of overcooked or overstewed tomatoesâ€¦ Oh, and just this afternoon I spied a silly poster for Delifrance’s latest offering “Bolognese con Meatballs.” What the heck is that? It’s presumably a meatsauce spaghetti with meatballs to boot. But worse, it sounds like “a man from Bologna with massive gonads,” but stated in three different languages. Hmmm, I wonder which brilliant mind came up with that one…