I love making spaghetti & meatballs. Each time, I like trying out different twists with my tomato sauce, with different results, most of which are pretty delicious. The sauce I made the other night was definitely a winner thanks to the incorporation of Italian San Marzano tomatoes - the very best kind of canned tomatoes to use in any pasta sauce. I received a can of ShopRite's San Marzano tomatoes and they worked beautifully in my sauce. I hadn't tried making tomato sauce with San Marzano's before, but they are certainly the best - and you definitely want to use genuine imported Italian ones like these. The meatballs are also delicious. I usually don't put artichoke hearts in my sauce, but I did this time since I had received a can of delicious ones from ShopRite as a member of the Potluck Blog Panel. Eataly in Manhattan is also a great place to buy different imported varieties of San Marzano tomatoes and other Italian foods. I am sure I will share different variations of my pasta sauces in future posts as well. In this sauce, I incorporated carrots, which I love in my homemade marinara sauces - they sweeten up the sauce just a tiny bit and add some delicious texture and flavor.
1 lb lean ground beef
one small onion, diced
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste
1 large 24 oz can San Marzano tomatoes
1 14 oz can tomato puree
1 small can of tomato paste
2 cans of water, using the can from the tomato paste to measure
1 T butter or canola oil
1 onion diced
3 cloves of garlic, diced
two handfuls of carrots, diced
4 sprigs of thyme
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste
To make the meatballs, combine the ingredients above with the meat and form medium sized balls. I hate touching cold raw meat, but these are so good, so I make them anyhow.
For the sauce, saute the onion and garlic in a saute pan with a bit of canola oil for about five minutes over medium heat. Combine with the other ingredients and bring to a boil. Then simmer for about a half an hour until the sauce reaches the desired consistency. In the meantime, bake the meatballs until they are cooked through - about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Then add to the pot of sauce and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes so that they can absorb the sauce. Serve with a bit of grated parmesan cheese.