Spaghetti and Italian meatballs baked in a rich basil infused tomato sauce and covered in melted provolone and parmesan.
Things have been very quiet on the Yummalicious front lately. A couple weeks ago I traveled from home to Victoria for a work trip. It was only a couple days, but then when I returned home, I promptly came down with a nasty cold. A fountain-nose, painful to breathe, scratchy throat, and migraine accompanied cold.
For 7 days I lived on juices, crackers and hot bowls of Ramen. Lots and lots of bowls of hot, steaming, delicious ramen. Okay, I may have ate a couple other things, but that was basically it!
But then a few days ago, I started to feel like a human again. I cleared away the mountains of tissues, tidied a very messy house and did grocery shopping. I was wanting food again. But not just any food. Good core food.
So I went back to the basics. The meal I can remember eating the most growing up was spaghetti. It was always a hearty, filling, delicious meal that made me hungry and want to eat. It just tastes like home to me!
My husband may not be a big red sauce fan, but that doesn’t stop me from following the pattern of my childhood and fitting it into my meal planning every couple weeks. Because to me, spaghetti tastes like home.
This spaghetti sauce is rich and luxurious. What makes it so wonderful is being simmered with fresh basil to soak up all the deliciousness. Add together all the sauce ingredients in a small pot. Cover the pot and let it simmer and mature.
Once you get the sauce simmering, work on mixing together the meatballs. Add all the ingredients together in a bowl, and mix together. Don’t overmix the meat, as that will give it a cardboard-y texture. Just stir it until it is combined.
Then take about two tablespoons at a time and roll it into a ball with your hands. Now just a little side-note. I highly recommend buying a box of disposable plastic gloves. After handling raw meat, no matter how many times I wash my hands, I still feel paranoid about raw meat bacteria. So whenever I handle raw meat, I wear these gloves. That way I can remove the gloves, throw them in the trash, and continue cooking.
Roll all of the meat into balls and place in a glass baking dish. Once you’ve made the meatballs, take the spaghetti sauce off the heat and remove the basil and bay leaves. Then, carefully pour the sauce over the meatballs, being sure to cover each one.
Yes, in the picture above I am pouring from a jar. But no it wasn’t store bought. I had just pre-made this sauce earlier.
Place the meatballs in the oven and bake! Then, remove them from the oven and cover with provolone cheese (mozzarella or parmesan should work just fine too). Then bake for another few minutes to let the cheese melt.
Of course, while the meatballs are baking you can get a pot of water boiling and cook your spaghetti. Yay for multi-tasking!
Just a little tip, lean to the side of having your spaghetti ready a little bit after the meatballs. The meatballs are going to be sitting in hot tomato sauce and will keep just fine for 5 minutes. The spaghetti, however, doesn’t want to just sit fully cooked either in hot water where it becomes over-cooked or in the cold air where it gets dry and unpleasant. As someone who has a hard time having everything ready at exactly the same time, tips like this are crucial.
Plate together some noodles, meatballs, and sauce. And of course, get some of that scrumptious gooey cheese!
This is such an easy dinner to make, is filling and absolutely delicious. You should definitely try it for a meal this week!
Spaghetti & Meatballs baked in Basil Tomato SauceYields: 4 servings
IngredientsBASIL TOMATO SAUCE
- 680ml (23 oz) can tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, whole
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 large egg
- 1 small onion, minced
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1/3 cup bread crumbs
- 4 Provolone slices
- Chopped parsley (garnish)
- Parmesan (garnish)
- In a medium saucepan, over low heat, combine all ingredients.
- Cover and simmer for 25 minutes. The sauce will reduce, thickening and darkening in color.
- Remove the basil and bay leaves.
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Whisk together the egg, onion, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, salt, pepper, and garlic. Then, add the ground beef and bread crumbs and mix together with your hands.
- Form 2 tablespoon meatballs and place in a glass dish. Pour the prepared sauce over top, covering each meatball.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then add provolone slices and bake for another 5 minutes.
- While the meatballs are baking, cook your spaghetti according to package directions
- Keep all the basil leaves connected to their stem for easier removal at the end.