Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce and Meatballs

It’s potluck night!  Potluck night has become a monthly event for me and 3 of my friends.  This is the first time I’ve been the hostess.  I’ve been waiting for an occasion to serve my homemade meatballs that have been hanging out in the freezer for a while.  Tonight is the night.  I’ve got two dozen small meatballs and 3 quarts of home canned tomatoes just waiting to become a fabulous dinner.

First, the marinara.  The first time I made these meatballs I served them with Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter.  It will be very hard to beat that.  Tonight I’m making a pretty standard marinara, which is just tomatoes, onion, garlic and a few spices.  I added some wine tonight as well.  The key to a good tomato sauce is the simmering time.  It doesn’t have to be all day, but an hour does wonders.

Tonight I sauteed an onion and some garlic in olive oil, added 3 quarts of tomatoes, some chopped parsley, dried basil and fresh oregano.  No added salt necessary.  When we canned the tomatoes last summer Mom and I added a touch of salt and a little lemon juice. That’s really made a difference when I use them.  I don’t generally need to add salt.  I simmered the pot uncovered for about an hour and 10 minutes and then added the meatballs.  The meatballs were cooked before they were frozen.  I thawed them overnight in the fridge, added them to the sauce and cooked everything another15 minutes.

I thought this sauce rocked.  The perfect chunky tomato sauce to go with the meatballs which are half beef and half turkey.  I used whole wheat thin spaghetti for the background.  So, so good.  There were a few leftovers, but not a lot.  I’ll be having this again for lunch tomorrow and I’m pretty excited about it.  I was so excited about it tonight that I forgot to take pictures!

And many thanks to my friends for the accompanying onion tart and the lovely chocolate mousse.  A special thanks to a friend who showed up even though she’s been under the weather all week!

Check the April 2010 post for the meatball recipe.  I can attest that a year later they were still really good.  Just remember to cook them before you freeze them. They won’t freeze this long if they’re raw.

Good?  So, so good.  The tomatoes make all the difference.
Easy? You bet. Chop, saute, dump, stir, simmer.
Good for company? You’ll have to ask the potluck girls to be sure, but I thought so.
Special shopping? Nope. Just be sure you have the best tomatoes available. They’re the star here.

Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

2 T olive oil
1 white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 C red wine (Zinfandel tonight)
3 quarts whole peeled tomatoes
1 T dried basil
4 T fresh parsley, chopped
2 T fresh oregano, chopped

Directions

Heat olive oil in a dutch oven. Add onions and garlic. Saute until golden brown. Stir in wine. Cook until the liquid is mostly absorbed. Add tomatoes and basil. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered 30-40 minutes. Add parsley and oregano. Simmer uncovered another 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add meatballs. Simmer 15 more minutes until meatballs are heated through and sauce reaches the desired consistency. Serve over hot, cooked spaghetti.

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