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Spaghetti & Meatballs

March 29, 2011
By Wendy Monro, Simply Food Writer

Yes, this is about spaghetti and meatballs. Believe it or not, I have never made a meatball in my life.

It's amazing how often I say that in these articles. There is so much I haven't cooked before. This is quite amazing with all of the cooking I have done.

I am always in the kitchen either cooking or cleaning. I think that is why this is so much fun for me.

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The finished plate of spaghetti and meatballs.

Each week, without a doubt, I find something new to cook and usually it is something I have never made before.

Spaghetti and meatballs is something I should have cooked before. It's a classic, right?

Of course, it is an Italian dish; but, it seems like such a classic American meal. At least, it seemed like a staple in my life growing up.

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When I was young, every kid loved spaghetti and meatballs especially with tons of Parmesan cheese. It had to be the Kraft Parmesan cheese, not the fancy shredded kind. I sprinkled so much of that cheese onto my spaghetti. It really wouldn't have been considered "sprinkled" it was more of a dousing.

I used to love heating up spaghetti after pouring it out of a can, courtesy of Chef Boyardee.

Spaghettios was probably one of the first meals I ever learned to prepare for myself.

I loved those tiny meatballs and their sauce had a flavor that I have never experienced in any other sauce. It was a very unique flavor and so delicious to my seven year old palate.

That really brings back a flood of memories: banana seat bikes with pom poms on the handle bars, Toughskin corduroy pants, Shawn Cassidy posters, and The Brady Bunch. My mom used to buy Toughskin pants for me to wear until one day someone said, "look at that boy with the piece of paper stuck to his shoe." I was that little boy. I wore nothing but dresses for the next two years straight. Oh, the trauma of childhood life.

Anyway, back to the meatballs.

It seems like every kid likes pasta of some sort.

Sometimes, a child will want spaghetti with butter and Parmesan cheese, sometimes they will prefer it with a pasta sauce, some kids like Alfredo sauce; but, for some reason, my son Jack, doesn't like pasta any way.

How does anyone not like any type of pasta? That's like not liking bread of any sort.

Jack doesn't like pasta, rice or potatoes. Go figure.

I think he does it just to bug me. So, when I made spaghetti and meatballs, Jack ate the meatballs.

Maybe this is why I have never made spaghetti and meatballs before. I have a vegetarian daughter who would never eat a meatball and a son who won't eat spaghetti. I had to come up with a clever way to get everyone to eat it, or at least some portion of the meal. This week, I decided to give it a try. I did read a recipe for meatballs earlier in the week.

It was for meatballs in marinara sauce served with garlic bread (without any pasta). That got me thinking about spaghetti and meatballs.

I looked at a few recipes and soon realized that meatballs are incredibly easy to make.

Also, they are very versatile. You can use ground beef or ground turkey.

I bet you could even come up with a delicious vegetarian version using beans or chickpeas. You can add in some herbs and even spinach.

One recipe I ran across added cheese into the meatball. That sounds pretty good.

Mine were very simple: beef, egg, breadcrumbs, garlic, salt and pepper. I have been in a minimalist state of mind lately.

I made a pasta sauce with onions, celery and carrots.

This is what I usually do.

I start with these vegetables and then add in my favorite bottle of sauce.

Most recipes for meatballs suggest cooking the meatballs right in the sauce, which you could easily do if you don't have a vegetarian in the house.

I cooked mine separately. I think the end result is the same.

Once everything was prepared, Claud and I ate the spaghetti with the veggie pasta sauce and had a few meatballs on top.

Then, I added the fancy shredded Parmesan cheese. I have developed a taste for that type over the years. I cut the meatballs up into small pieces and mixed them all together. It was really very good. I loved the added texture of having the meatballs in my otherwise vegetable based sauce.

I think this is how I will make spaghetti from now on and reminisce on my simple childhood life that seemed complicated at the time.



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