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Monday, April 7, 2008

Tried, Tested and True Event--Spaghetti and Meatballs

This is my first participation in a food blog event! It's Tried, Tested and True, and it's hosted by Giz and Psychgrad over at Equal Opportunity Kitchen. It's their first time hosting an event like this, and you've still got time of you want to join--submissions are due by April 14th. And don't we all have at least a few tried and true recipes? They also have a great blog, so you should check it out anyway.

So I decided to submit spaghetti and meatballs, because who doesn't like that? We all love this one. Well, except my 2 youngest boys, they only want butter and parm on their noodles. Sigh. If they only knew what they were missing!

I first got these recipes, I don't know, 4 or 5 years ago, from Allie. Her sister Bethany is one of my best friends. Allie got the recipe from their dad, and he got it from a little old Italian woman. Still with me? Good! It's the best pasta sauce and meatballs I've ever had. In fact, I gave up my old tried and true for this one. I've played with the sauce over the years and changed it a little, but the original is fabulous as is. The meatballs cook in the sauce, so they're tender and moist. Perfect. I haven't dared mess with the meatballs, because we love them so much (except that I use ground turkey instead of beef).

I'll post my version of the sauce, and you can see the original here. Oh, I also use different amounts for the sauce, because I in
crease it to have leftovers, and this freezes really well. I can give the measurements for these two recipes for 10, 15, or 20 servings, if anyone's interested. This makes the greatest meatball subs--add some provolone and get the bun all toasty...I'm SO glad I have some in the fridge for lunch, hehe.

One more thing...if you make your meatballs a little on the smaller side, you can cut cooking time to about 2 hours or so. And when you drop the meatballs in the sauce, don't stir for about 1/2 an hour, to give them time to set up. You can take the back of a wooden spoon and gently dunk them so they're under the sauce.

Italian Tomato Sauce (15 servings)

3 (28 ounces) cans tomato puree (if you can't find puree, which I can't lately, use crushed instead)
1 1/2 (28 ounces) cans crushed tomatoes
3/8 can tomato paste
splash of red wine
3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 small onion, diced
pinch of ground cloves
1/2 Tbs basil
1/2 Tbs kosher salt
3/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
3 Tbs sugar
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
6 Tbs grated parmesan cheese

1 In a large pot over medium low heat, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until soft.
2 Add tomatoes to the pot.
3 Add all ingredients (including any meatballs or sausage you want to add) to
pot and simmer for 3 hours.

And the meatball recipe. These measurements are for 20 servings, but I like to make a huge batch so
I can freeze some for later.

Italian Meatballs (20 servings)

2 lb ground beef (I always use ground turkey!)
2 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 tsp salt
2 tsp oregano
2 Tbs fresh parsley
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 Mix all ingredients in a large bowl by hand.
2 Roll meatballs to about the size of a golf ball.
3 Drop raw meatballs into the pot of sauce.
4 Simmer for about 3 hours, or until a tested meatball is done.

So make sure you go and check out the other Tried, Tested and True on April 14th!

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PG said...

As a kid I was really fussy with my pasta too. I went through a capellini and soy sauce kick for a while. I have since seen the light and am always on the lookout for great tomato sauces.

Thanks for the great submission to Tried, Tested and True and for the shining endorsement of our blog!

giz said...

What a great submission Elle. You done us proud girl!!! and to think this is your first roundup - you rock.

You made me laugh - Psychgrad when she was young wouldn't allow the sauce to touch her pasta.

PG said... you know all of my pasta secrets and we'll stop hijacking your comment section.

Elle said...

HAHAHA!! You guys are totally cracking me up!

Thanks so much, you two--this was fun! I may have a second submission, too...something sweet.

Deborah said...

I haven't heard of this event - so I'm glad I saw it here. Makes me want to get out my recipe box full of tried and true!

This spaghetti recipe sounds perfect!

Elle said...

Thanks, Deborah! It is a really delicious sauce--I'm going to have a meatball sandwich for lunch in just a few minutes. yum!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, baby! I can vouch for Elle that this is a fantastic recipe! It is the only tomato sauce and meatballs recipe I use for spaghetti now. YUM! And now I'm jealous that Elle has some made and I don't. :P lol

Elle said...

I could ship you a meatball sandwich, but it may be green by the time it gets there. lmbo

taste memory said...

the meatballs look tender + perfect....pretty pix of the red sauce too.

I probably make a batch of sauce every two weeks to have a safegaurd...thanks for sharing this tried & true!

Rhyleysgranny said...

The meat balls looks so good. I have never made them so this is one to try. The tomato sauce is similar to mine and I love it

Anonymous said...

not sure if you're italian by heritage, but by the look of this gravy recipe, i'd say you get the italian gold star! this looks absolutely fabulous and flavorful. Well done.

amy @

test it comm said...

That spaghetti and meatballs looks really good. I can't believe that I have never made it before. I will have to move it up in my to try list.

Anonymous said...

Elle, you know how much I put my trust in your cooking so I absolutely believe it when you say it's tried, tested, and true! That looks amazing.

I've never had success making meatballs (they always turn out raw!), but I'm willing to give this a try.

Pixie said...

Mmmm, yes, this does look sensational. I'm craving it already and it's 7am. mmmm

RecipeGirl said...

Wow, that sauce looks so yummy. My son wishes that I would make totally normal things like this, but no... I'm making him try calamari and kalamata olives LOL.

I'm still thinking of something to make for this event!

Unknown said...

looks great and I will try your pasta sauce, the one I usually make is very similar to yours but without the cheese. Thanks for sharing:-)

Anonymous said...

That looks like one of the best sauce recipes I've ever seen! Beautiful!

Elle said...

Taste memory--they do come out very tender cooked in the sauce like that. Good stuff.

Rhyleysgranny--let me know if you try them.

Amy--no, Im not, but so the story goes, it's from a sweet little old Italian lady. And thank you!

Kevin--if you give it a try, please let me know!

Joy--our old method of making meatballs was to cook them separately, but it's tricky to get them done on both the outside and inside. This way works perfectly, and since they simmer gently in the sauce, they don't dry out. You can make them a tad smaller if you want them to cook more quickly.

Pixie--I crave them all the time. They're good cold, too. lol!

Recipe Girl--I think it's great that your son likes foods like that!

Toothfairy--the cheese does some gooood flavor. ;)

Noble pig--it was delicious enough for me to give up my old perfected recipe!

Thank you all for your great comments!

Mrs Ergül said...

I'm a first-time visitor @ Elle's New England Kitchen! I like the way your writing gives a very warm and cosy feel :) Nice to meet you.

Mrs Ergul from

Anonymous said...

Hi Elle!
Those meatballs look divine!
One of my foodie friends told me about your blog and after reading a few posts I realize you have many delicious recipes.
First of all: well done!
Second, I’m part of a team that organizes a foodie roundup event every 2 weeks on a given theme and would love if you would participate. If you are interested the current theme is springtime salads.
Wishing you many delicious dishes to come, just like this one :)

Elle said...

Mrs. Ergul--thanks so much for your lovely comments!

Linda--thank you! I'll check it out!

Anonymous said...

I tried these out today (with beef, not turkey) and wow, delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipe! :D

Elle said...

Thank you, Mel! I'm so happy that you liked the recipes!

Anonymous said...

Hi Elle,

Would like to invite you to join foodie photo contest. The theme is red and white. Please have a look here

Oh, I'd like to invite you to join the food photo contest. Please have a look here for more info

There're some prizes for the lucky winners :D

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