When I got the recipe I was both excited and disappointed at the same time. As I alluded to in a recent post, I recently accumulated a stockpile of about 40 boxes of free (yes, free) pasta. See...this is what 24 boxes of free pasta (and a few other items which I purchased for a total of just over $4) looks like. Now imagine 16 boxes more...
Yep...we've got a lot of pasta to work through. So, the fact the theme itself was pasta made me excited to start and I couldn't wait to get all sorts of new recipes to try out as I worked my way through the stock. Then I got my recipe. My heart sunk a bit when I saw spaghetti and meatballs because it was so familiar and I already had a great recipe from my mother-in-law that I frequently make. But, I looked at the bright side of things and figured in the spirit of trying new things and possibly finding something better, I'd give it a shot.
I was intrigued by the addition of spinach in the meatballs but ended up leaving it out because I didn't want to buy a whole bag of fresh spinach just to throw in a handful of it. I'm not sure what trio meat is nor how much was in "1 package" so I just used what I had on-hand which is 1/2 pound ground turkey and 1/2 pound ground mild italian sausage. I figured if it made 12 meatballs this amount of meat seemed about right versus what I'm used to in my normal recipe. The amount of egg (3) called for though seemed a bit much. Still, I powered through and had faith. I probably should have gone with my gut though because after adding all the meatball ingredients together I found it to be extremely wet/mushy and it wouldn't hold its shape. I ended up adding a couple slices of shredded bread pieces. I probably should have added more because they were still a bit soft and after baking my meatballs were more like meatmounds. They didn't hold their shape as I had hoped and once I added them to the sauce they disintegrated into the sauce and kind of became meatsauce. I also ended up with over 20 meatballs (roughly 2" in diameter) so I'm still scratching my head over where I went wrong.
The sauce was a bit better. I added a couple glugs of red wine for depth and cracked red pepper for heat. I still craved more flavor from the sauce after it simmered. I think this version tasted more fresh and acidic versus I'm used to and prefer a more deep, slightly sweet slow cooked flavor from simmering for hours.
Overall it was fun to try a new version but I think I'm still sticking with my tried-and-true family recipe. Below is the original recipe submitted to me, without any of the modification of the ingredients I mentioned...just in case I did something wrong and there's operator error! I did re-write the directions to reflect how I prepared this recipe.
By the way, time is running out to enter my 2nd Blogiversary Giveaway! Don't miss out on this opportunity to win an autographed version of Pioneer Woman Cooks!
One Year Ago: It was a Dinner Club Brinner (Breakfast for Dinner) Theme with Bacon Egg and Toast Cups, Belgian Waffles, Pancake Syrup, Strawberry Topping, and Country Fried Steak!
Spaghetti and Meatballs
For the Sauce
- 1 big can crushed tomatoes
- 1 regular size can tomato sauce
- 1 small can of tomato paste
- garlic, salt and pepper, basil, thyme, oregano, and parsley to taste
- 2 bay leaves
For the Meatballs:
- 1 package trio meat
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- salt and pepper to taste
- hearty handful of baby spinach
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 1 red pepper
- small handful of fresh basil
- about a tbsp each of fresh thyme, rosemary, oregano, and parsley
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a large rimmed cookie sheet with cooking spray.
- Combine ingredients for sauce in a dutch oven or large pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer. Allow sauce to simmer while you prepare the meatballs.
- Add spinach, onion, pepper, and spices in a food processor. Pulse about 5-6 times until finely chopped.
- In a large mixing bowl, using your hands mix together processed vegetables and remaining ingredients until combined. Shape meat into balls and place onto cookie sheet. Bake for about 20-25 minutes.
- Add meatballs to the sauce and serve.