Spaghetti with Homemade Pasta Sauce, Meatballs, and Garlic Bread

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Recipe by TheLizard
Wikified by Kenning


In the chat thread, a good point was made that we're chock full of megathreads and not much else, so here's a thread about making homemade pasta sauce, garlic bread and meatballs. The basic recipe for the meatballs is my grandmother's; she came over in 1957 and was illiterate, so like all good Italian recipes, it's all guess work. The pasta sauce is Hochi's - we've posted it before but it's been a while so back it comes. I think it's derived from Alton Brown's recipe (HoChiWaWa Note: I stole his idea on the tomato water but not the rest of his recipe, he had like carrots and shit in there).


Pasta Sauce (makes a metric ton)

5 large cans good tomatoes (San Marzano or Muir Glen are recommended)
5-6 fresh tomatoes, roasted
2 C red wine (I used a Nero d'Avola, but any dry red will work)
1.5 C onions, diced
4 head garlic, roasted
2 cloves uncooked garlic, diced
2 TB basil, torn
4 Bay Leaves
1/2 ts crushed red pepper flakes
Parmigiano rinds
Salt and pepper to taste
Any additional herbs you'd like to use; oregano, crushed red pepper etc.


Technique:

1) The first thing we do is separate the tomatoes from the tomato water by crushing the tomatoes with our bare hands. This is great fun but makes a horrible mess. Once you do this, add bay leaves and red pepper flakes and reduce by half. Reserve the tomato solids for use later.

Here's a picture of the tomato cans so you know what you're looking for. Below that is the wine and herbs.

Lizard Pasta 1.jpg Lizard Pasta 2.jpg

Here's me crushing the tomatoes:

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Here's what it will look like after it's reduced by half:

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2) While the tomato water is reducing, roast your tomatoes in a 350 degree oven. I quarter them and then coat them in olive oil and salt. Once they've baked down, skin them.

Lizard Pasta 5.jpg

3) Sweat your onions until translucent and add the garlic, roasted (and skinned) tomatoes, roasted garlic, basil, parm rinds and leftover canned tomato solids. Cook for a few minutes to get a little caramelization, then add the reduced tomato water. Cook this down - if you're in a hurry it can just simmer for a few minutes but you can put a lid on it and let it simmer all day if you want. Keep the heat on low and stir frequently to make sure nothing gets burned.

Lizard Pasta 6.jpg

4) Once it's simmered the desired amount, blend it by using a stick blender or transferring into a regular blender. You can choose how chunky you like it, since we use it on pizza a lot we tend to go for a pretty smooth blend.


Meat Balls

I just got a meat grinder and so playing with that was really fun, but by all means used pre-ground meat from the grocery store. I had so much left over that we made the world's biggest meatloaf the next night, which we're still eating. You'll find that this is mostly about technique - so you might have to try a few times before you figure out how to get them to the consistency that you like. This recipe made about 24 good sized meatballs.

3 lbs ground beef
2 lbs ground pork
1 lb ground lamb
1 egg
1/2 C seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 C grated Parmigiano
1/4 C cold water
Salt and pepper to taste


1) Grind your meats! This was a lot of fun; I've never done it before. Some hints are to have the meat REALLY cold before you do it, and try not to have too much fat/gristle.

Lizard Pasta 7.jpg Lizard Pasta 8.jpg

2) Mix water and breadcrumbs into a loose paste.

3) Add cheese, egg and meat (in that order). Work with your hands until the mixture is uniform. Form this into whatever sized balls you like. I like mine big. Not HUGE, because then they're too hard to get into your mouth, but I still like a nice substantial ball.

4) Brown the outsides, then add enough tomato sauce to your pan to mostly cover. Simmer in the sauce for 20 minutes, turning often so each side gets a turn in the sauce.

Lizard Pasta 9.jpg

Garlic Bread

1 stick butter
1 whole baguette
8 cloves garlic, crushed
grated Parmigiano


1) First, make garlic butter by melting the butter over a low heat with crushed garlic for 5-7 minutes.

2) Slice the bread lengthwise, like this.

Lizard Pasta 10.jpg

3) Spoon the butter into the cavity you just made so that it saturates the bread. Grate parm in there as well.

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4) Wrap the baguette in tin foil, sprinkle with leftover garlic and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes until warmed through.

Lizard Pasta 12.jpg

Pasta

1 box spaghetti
lots of water
lots of salt


1) Prepare the pasta to the instructions on the box. I'm lazy and my family in Italy all uses Barilla so who am I to judge.

Finally, put it all together!

Lizard Pasta 13.jpg