Friday, May 20, 2005

Quick Spaghetti and Meatballs

Quick Spaghetti and Meatballs (Adapted from Everyday Food)

1 1/2 pounds hot Italian sausage, casings removed
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional, if desired
1 cup diced onion
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 28 ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes
salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
12 to 16 ounces dry spaghetti pasta
fresh grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Roll sausage into 24 balls, about 1 1/2" in size.

In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high. Add sausage and cook until browned all over, about 5 to 7 minutes - if your pan is on the smaller side, do this in two batches. Using a slotted spoon, transfer meatballs to a plate. Add onion into the pan and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, oregano and crushed red pepper - cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, breaking them up as you go, and season with salt and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil and allow to cook for 5 minutes.

Drop pasta into the boiling water and cook a minute or two shorter than the package directs.

Meanwhile, add meatballs to sauce and simmer at a rapid bubble until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 6 to 7 minutes. Set aside 8 meatballs and 1 1/2 cups sauce for a later use (for these (Spinach and Meatball Calzones).

Drain pasta, then add into the pot with the sauce and meatballs - allow to simmer, stirring, for 1 to two minutes to finish cooking the pasta. If desired, drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil and add fresh grated Parmesan cheese on each serving.

Makes about 4 hearty servings.

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