My parents had a family friend from out of town visit us, and since it was her last day yesterday, we decided to invite them over for dinner. My mom asked us to make spaghetti because she thinks it’s a simple meal to prepare – but in reality, it literally took all day to make! Let’s just say we wanted to make it from scratch.
Since Daniel won't touch Ragu or Prego with a 10-foot pole, I had to make the spaghetti sauce using crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. By doing so, we're able to add our own seasonings and flavor.
I started by sweating the onions, carrots and celery in a big pot, then added the huge can of crushed tomatoes.
One of my favorite flavors is roasted garlic - so this was definitely an added boost to the pot of spaghetti sauce. Roasted garlic helps to eliminate that raw garlic taste. This is how I do it: peel the garlic cloves and throw it in your small toaster oven. Drizzle some olive oil on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for about 10 minutes at 300 degrees. The garlic gets almost translucent in color and very soft in texture. Doesn't hurt to pop a few in your mouth before chopping it up for the spaghetti sauce!!
Our backyard is a garden of fresh herbs and I got the opportunity to put it to good use. This is a snapshot of our basil and curly Italian parsley.
In addition to that, I also used a couple of bay leaves and thyme. The fresh herbs really create a fragrant aroma - definitely beats dried herbs any day.
The herbs were fine chopped and added to the sauce to continue simmering. I think in total, I left it on the stove for almost 4-5 hours to help reduce the sauce, as well as the acidic taste from the tomatoes
Button mushrooms were added as well. Even though it shrinks from the heat, it still gives the sauce texture and a nice earthy flavor.
At last, the meatballs were prepared by using ground beef, bread crumbs, 2 eggs, garlic, parsley, parmigiano-reggiano, salt & pepper. After setting them up in single file line, it was baked at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, rotating halfway.
Spaghetti and meatballs is such a great comfort food. I always make a big pot so that there's leftovers. It will always remain one of my favorites - and I'm sure for my family, too!