Meatballs (and Meatless) Spaghetti Recipe for Your Book Club

Meatballs and Spaghetti Serves 6 to 8 Meatballs served in a tomato sauce over spaghetti is an easy dish to serve when it's your turn to host a book club dinner. This classic recipe works well for both the meat-eaters and the vegetarians in your group. That’s because it’s easy to keep some of the sauce aside before you add the meatballs. And if you're in a mother-daughter or other kids book club with picky eaters? The kids can easily go for just the pasta with a little butter or olive oil and Parmesan cheese if they prefer it that way. As a side dish, sauté slices of zucchini in a little olive oil with salt and pepper to taste. Zucchini is actually the Italian name for this vegetable that’s available nearly year round in grocery stores. Carrot sticks are usually a good choice as well. Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ chopped sweet yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup very finely carrots, chopped
  • 2 28-oz cans plum tomatoes
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt to taste
Meatballs
  • 1 lb ground beef or turkey
  • ½ lb ground Italian-style pork sausage
  • 2 tablespoons finely basil, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup unseasoned bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
Spaghetti
  • 1 to 1-1/2 lbs. dry thin spaghetti
To make the sauce, heat olive oil in 4 to 5 quart pot on medium-high heat. Sauté onions and garlic in the heated oil for about two minutes. Add carrots and cook about two more minutes. Add canned tomatoes, basil and parsley. Stir, chopping the tomatoes into smaller pieces with your stirring spoon. After about 5 minutes, add the tomato paste and stir until blended. Turn heat to low while you cook the meatballs. To make the meatballs, place the beef, sausage, parsley, eggs, breadcrumbs, cheese, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Mix with your hands until well blended. Pinch off a small amount and shape it into ball. Set the ball on a plate and repeat until all the meat mixture has been formed into balls. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Place the meatballs in the skillet one by one and brown on all sides, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir cheese into the sauce and add salt and pepper to taste. If you’d like, set some sauce aside for anyone who is vegetarian or prefers a meatless meal. Fold in meatballs. Simmer on low heat for 30 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Cook the pasta while the sauce is simmering by following the directions on the package. Drain when cooked. To serve, ladle spaghetti onto plate and add sauce. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

One Comment

  1. I seem to remember this as being a big hit in our book club, Cindy. Great versatile meal for a book club gathering!

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