Because sometimes you just need Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs for dinner!
Spaghetti and meatballs. Does it get any more classic than that? And sometimes you just need a comforting pasta dish for dinner…especially when said comforting pasta dish shows up on a chilly Spring night. (Ok, it’s still straight up Winter here in upstate New York, but Spring is on the horizon. At least that’s what my calendar says. After all, we’re rolling the clocks ahead this weekend…that means warm(er) weather is coming!)
Classic spaghetti and meatballs is one of those dishes that shows up on nearly every list of favorite comfort foods. And rightfully so. It’s delicious! We’ve been making our own meatballs for years, and I’ve tried my hand at making homemade sauce on several occasions. But I finally got around to combining these together into this recipe for a homemade classic. I took my mother-in-law’s meatball recipe (with a few minor tweaks) and my sauce recipe that I jotted down years ago, and *boom* Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs!
One of my favorite sayings about Italian food is to use the best ingredients you can afford. For the most part, Italian recipes are relatively easy to make and require just a few ingredients. Thus, the quality of the ingredients plays a huge role in the finished dish. That is definitely the case for this Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe. Take the sauce for instance. It’s basically a can of crushed tomatoes simmered with onions and seasonings. And the result is amazing! #AwesomeSauce
But I didn’t use store brand crushed tomatoes here. I splurged for the can of San Marzano tomatoes. You’ve probably heard of San Marzano tomatoes. They’re a classic Italian plum tomato grown in the volcanic soil near Mt. Vesuvius in southern Italy. Fortunately, San Marzano tomatoes are relatively easy to find now, and most stores carry several different types. You’ll notice than cans of real San Marzano tomatoes are printed with the “DOP” label (short for “Protected Designation of Origin”) showing that the tomatoes were grown in the San Marzano region of Italy.
For the last couple of years, I’ve tried growing San Marzano tomatoes using starter plants from our local nursery. They don’t seem to grow well here in upstate New York, and I suspect that’s because our soil isn’t too volcanic. That and the climate of upstate New York is nothing like the climate of southern Italy. Laura also astutely points out every year that my version of San Marzano tomatoes (even if they grew well) still wouldn’t be actual San Marzano tomatoes because the soil and climate is an important part of the flavor. She’s right. But I’m stubborn, and I keep trying to grow them up here. Maybe I just need to import some volcanic soil from Italy for this summer’s attempt. (Laura, if you’re reading this, I’m only kidding about the volcanic soil. Maybe.)
A quick note about canned tomatoes. My store only had canned peeled San Marzano tomatoes. But I need canned crushed tomatoes. A quick bit of googing, and I discovered that you can just pour the can of peeled tomatoes into a large resealable bag. Seal it up and then crush the tomatoes by hand from the outside. It’s a quick and easy trick to turn peeled tomatoes into crushed tomatoes without creating a huge mess in your kitchen.
But back to this Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe! I typically make a double batch of the meatballs and then just freeze half of them after baking. My mother-in-law taught me this trick, and it makes for a very easy weeknight meal. Just throw the frozen meatballs in a saucepan with sauce and let ’em simmer away until hot. Then add in some cooked spaghetti (or whatever kind of pasta you happen to have in the pantry), and you’ve got yourself one heck of a delicious meal on a busy weeknight.
If you’re craving some delicious comfort food, then look no further! This Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe is a delicious version of this family favorite.
Of course, spaghetti and meatballs taste much better when served with a batch of homemade Italian bread! If you’ve never made bread at home, it’s not as hard as you think. Give this Italian bread a shot!