Nothings complements a romantic candlelit dinner with your loved ones more than a steaming plate of spaghetti and meatballs. I have tried many recipes over the years and this one from Sarah Leah Chase has become my favorite. The herb-laden tomato sauce combined with the mozzarella stuffed meatballs bring the dish to another level. So, grab a loaf of garlic bread, a green salad, and a bottle of Chianti, and recreate your own “Lady and the Tramp” moment. This recipe makes a good amount so you can freeze half the sauce and meatballs and save for another romantic rainy day.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 large onion, minced
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 carrot, peeled and minced
- 1 bell pepper, any color, stemmed, seeded, and diced
- 1 T dried Italian herb blend
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 2 cans (28 oz each) whole tomatoes, undrained
- 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 2 tsp sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 lbs lean ground beef
- 1 lb lean ground pork
- 4 oz prosciutto, ground or finely minced
- 1 medium onion, finely minced
- 3 large garlic cloves, finely minced
- ½ cup minced fresh parsley
- ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
- 1 T dried oregano
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- ¾ cup ricotta
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 8 oz mozzarella cheese, cut into ½ inch cubes
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 lbs spaghetti
- Prepare the tomato sauce: Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, and bell pepper and sauté 10 minutes. Stir in the herbs and fennel seeds. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, sugar, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover, and continue to simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- While the sauce is simmering, prepare the meatballs:
- Combine the beef, pork, and prosciutto in a large mixing bowl. With your hand or a large wooden spoon, mix in all the remaining ingredients through the eggs. Season with salt and pepper.
- Grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- To form each meatball, take a generous scoop of the meat mixture, flatten it into a patty, place a cube of mozzarella in the meatballs. The meatballs should be ½ inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. The mixture should make around 24 meatballs.
- Brush each meatball lightly all over with the olive oil. Bake until cooked through and lightly browned, about 40 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meatballs to the tomato sauce. Simmer uncovered 30 minutes longer.
- 15 minutes before serving, cook the spaghetti in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and transfer to a pasta bowl. Top with the sauce and meatballs.