Mammaw’s Spaghetti and Baked Meatballs

Now I am quite certain there are many of you out there who have their own tried and true spaghetti and meatball recipe.  I am also quite certain it is absolutely delicious.  This is not your traditional Italian spaghetti and meatball recipe, I wouldn’t think, as neither Big Daddy or I have any Italian roots in our family….just about everything else…just not Italian.  Growing up, my Momou made spaghetti and meatballs for Sunday lunch when we would go visit and my mama made them pretty regularly too.  It was always a big event and my daddy was always, always so excited.  We had these big ole bowls he would eat spaghetti and meatballs from and he did it just right…twirling his pasta in the spoon with his fork.  He taught me and my sisters how to do it as well.  My mama and Momou could sure enough make up some spaghetti and meatballs.  So when Big Daddy and I started dating, his Pappaw passed on Mammaw’s spaghetti and meatballs recipe to me.  I gave it a try as my Momou could never verbalize exactly how she made hers. Magic, I suppose.  🙂  She did try though and I knew there was sugar in it and I had watched my mama enough to know kind of sort of how to do it.  Remember though, I was in college.  I was 19 and needed a dang recipe.  Lol!  So I got Mammaw’s and I got to it.  Well, turns out, her recipe and Momou’s and my mom’s must have been very similar.  It definitely hit the spot.  So for the most part, when I want to do a big spaghetti and meatball dinner, this is the recipe I always use.  My kids absolutely love it, even my oldest picky child.  He nearly licked the bowl clean the other night.  So I wanted to share this recipe with ya’ll just in case you are at a loss how to recreate your mom’s or grandmother’s spaghetti and meatball recipe.  Or you need a good recipe for this in your recipe box.  I hope you enjoy this.  I have definitely shortened it and simplified it to some extent.  I don’t think Mammaw would mind me taking liberties with her recipe as she was a very sensible woman indeed.  She would be a fan of “ain’t nobody got time for that!” if she were here today.  So make up a big pot of Mammaw’s spaghetti and meatballs and share them with someone special.  Sit around the table and laugh while you twirl your spaghetti in the spoon with your fork and then pile it into your mouth.  Just don’t forget the napkins!!!

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Big Daddy, Mammaw and Pappaw making sweet memories….

Mammaw’s Spaghetti and Baked Meatballs

Ingredients

For sauce you will need…

olive oil

3 cans tomato paste

6 cans of water

1 onion, finely diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced,

sugar (about 2-3 Tablespoons depending on taste)

salt and pepper (about 2 tsp. of each give or take…I use kosher salt)

2 bay leaves

For meatballs you will need…

1 pound ground chuck

1 pound ground pork

1 tsp. each of  salt and pepper

2 tsp. dried parsley

milk

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 clove of garlic

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a big wide pot or a deep one (I use my big blue wide pot) over medium heat.  Add finely diced onion and garlic in the olive oil and saute this for about 5 minutes or until onions are tender.  Add in cans of tomato paste one by one, giving a good stir in between each one.  You want to incorporate the onions  and garlic into each can of paste.  Gradually stir in each can of water.  Add bay leave, some salt and pepper and about 1 tablespoon of sugar to start with.   You can taste it and add more if you want at this point or wait.  Now, the sauce should be bubbling a bit at this point, so turn it down to low and let it simmer.  Ok, put the lid on and let this simmer for about 2 hours.  Stir occasionally and adjust heat if needed.  Mammaw made sure to note on her recipe and Pappaw made sure to reiterate to me…”the secret is in long slow cooking!!”…to me that means two hours.  LOL!!

While sauce is simmering, you can go ahead and make your meatballs.  Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Put your meat in a large bowl.  Add in your salt, pepper, parsley, grated Parmesan,  a splash of milk and minced garlic.  Mix it up really well with your (clean) hands.  Really get in there and work that seasoning in ya’ll!  Good times!!  ha ha!!  Ok, once you have your meat well seasoned (feel free to add in more seasoning if you think you need to.  My measurements are approximate). Now, take about 1 heaping tablespoon of meat and roll it gently into a ball.  You want uniformity more than anything so that they will cook evenly.  Put the meatballs on a rack inside of a baking pan (this allows fat to drip away from the meat).  Mammaw called for pan frying the meatballs in her recipe.  I changed it up because baking the meatballs makes them more moist to me, plus it is a healthier way to make them.  Put your baking pan on the middle rack in your preheated oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes.  They don’t have to be completely done as they will cook a little while in the sauce.  You just want most of the pink gone.

Add your meatballs to your sauce one by one.  Give them a good stir and then return lid to pot and let the sauce continue to simmer for about 30 minutes.  Serve over cooked pasta of your choice and you are golden!!  Sunday supper for real!!!

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Big bowl of love!!

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