The Charlotte Observer

Smoked Meatballs With Spaghetti

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FOR THE MEATBALLS

1 1⁄2 pounds ground beef

1 1⁄2 pounds ground pork 1 large yellow onion,

chopped

5 cloves of garlic, crushed

1⁄4 cup grated Parmesan

cheese

2⁄3 cup Italian breadcrumb­s

3⁄ cup whole milk

4

1 1⁄2 cups fresh chopped

parsley

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 1⁄2 teaspoons coarsely

ground black pepper 3 eggs

1 teaspoon red pepper

flakes (optional) 2 teaspoons extra virgin

olive oil

FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE: 1 28-ounce can of Cento

Italian peeled tomatoes 1 12-ounce can of tomato

sauce

5 cloves garlic, crushed 4 teaspoons extra virgin

olive oil

1 bunch of Italian parsley,

chopped

2 teaspoons kosher salt Basil leaves (optional)

Prepare the meatballs: Mix the breadcrumb­s with the milk and set aside for 20 minutes or so. In the olive oil, saute the onion over medium-high heat until translucen­t. Now add the chopped garlic and saute for another couple minutes. Set aside. In a very large bowl, add the ground pork and beef. Whip the eggs up and add them to the meat. Now add the milk and breadcrumb mixture, as well as everything else. Get in there with your hands and mix thoroughly. Set in the fridge for half an hour to let it solidify a bit.

While chilling, place a sheet of aluminum foil on a cookie sheet and spray with a nonstick spray. Wet your hands (meat won’t stick as much to your hands) and make your meatballs the size you like them. Ours are slightly smaller than a ping pong ball. Don’t smash them together. Form the balls gently.

Bake at 425 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the internal temperatur­e is around 160 degrees. I smoked ours at a lower temperatur­e for one hour or so. I highly recommend it.

Prepare the sauce: Start cooking your spaghetti according to the directions on the box. We cooked two boxes of thick spaghetti noodles. With an immersion blender, smooth out the tomatoes. Over medium-high heat, saute the garlic for a couple minutes.

Now add the salt and the parsley and saute for another minute or so. Then add the puréed tomatoes and the tomato sauce. Cover and let come to temperatur­e, stirring occasional­ly. Drain the pasta and place back in the large pot, flame turned off, with a drizzling of olive oil.

Toss the pasta with the oil. Now add the tomato sauce and toss. The sauce will be mostly absorbed into the noodles, giving the noodles a beautiful light red / pinkish color. This is what you want. You don’t want it soupy or saucy.

Plate the pasta and top with grated Parmesan cheese and a basil leaf. Nestle it up to a hearty helping of delicious meatballs, some delicious bread, a salad and a nice Chianti wine.

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