Thursday, August 21, 2008

Spaghetti and Meatballs

You can't really get more basic than that, can you? Yesterday was kind of a stressful day for me, and I just wanted something for dinner that I could throw together quickly and easily. This definitely fit the bill.

I decided to jazz up my meatballs a little bit by stuffing them with some mozzarella cheese as a nice, gooey little surprise. I think I remember Rachael Ray doing something like this before, and that's where I got my inspiration, but I can't seem to find the recipe.

I kept the sauce very simple because I wanted the meatballs to speak for themselves; I just used a can of store-bought spaghetti sauce (roasted garlic-flavored, I think) and a can of diced tomatoes with olive oil and onion. Also, whenever I make spaghetti, after I drain the noodles I always add a little bit of butter and parmesan cheese directly to the noodles themselves. This really gives the pasta itself a lot of added flavor!

Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatballs
Source: inspired by Rachael Ray

1 pound ground chuck
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
1 egg
2-3 sticks mozzarella string cheese, cut into bite-sized pieces

1. Cook onions in olive oil over medium-high heat until translucent; remove from heat and let cool.

2. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add cooled onions and mix well.

3. Before rolling each meatball, place a piece of the mozzarella cheese in the center and roll the meatball around it. If the meatballs are the size of a golf ball, you should end up with about 15 total.

4. Pan-fry the meatballs in a deep-sided skillet in olive oil until brown on all sides. Add tomato sauce and bring to a simmer so that the meatballs can finish cooking gently and flavor the sauce.

5. Add spaghetti and enjoy!

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