SAVEUR Recipe #5: Lou Di Palo’s Spaghetti and Meatballs

I’ve been wanting to make this pasta dish since seeing it in last month’s SAVEUR: Italian Christmas. But this is no seasonal dish. Is there a season for spaghetti and meatballs?

Maybe the season of love. Or the day of love. Valentine’s Day is next month. If you’re not single and if you’re still in love and if you’re like me–unemployed thus living frugally thus staying occupied by writing for this blog–then you might be thinking about cooking a romantic dinner for your honey on the day of El, Oh, Vee, Ee or EOVE so that you can blog about it.

Spaghetti with meatballs as a romantic dinner was popularized by the animated Disney classic, Lady and the Tramp. Well I gots me a lady and I gots me a tramp. So a little noodle with a couple a balls might be just the thing I need to spice up my day of EOVE, if you knows what I mean-os.

This recipe is donated by New York’s Di Palo Fine Foods Store‘s proprietor, Lou Di Palo. This recipe is by his grandmother, Concetta Di Palo, if I’m not mistaken.

It must be the old world love ‘n’ care and from-scratch flavors that goes into making this dish because that’s the only explanation for the meatballs being the best of my life: not dry, full of flavor, big.

The sauce, however, was too sweet for my liking. And I also wanted more of it and thinner. So I added a jar of pre-made marinara that thinned out the super thick marinara by Concetta Di Palo and cut through the sweetness just enough to please my palate. I hope she’s not cursing my sacrilegious Korean ass from heaven.

I want to respect tradition as much as the next person, but not at the expense of enjoying my dinner with my tramp.

Lou Di Palo’s Spaghetti and Meatballs (Adapted from Saveur)
Serves 6 to 8

1/2 cup olive oil
12 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tbsp dried basil
2 28-oz cans whole peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup sugar
1 24-oz jar marinara
15 oz ground pork
5 oz ground beef
1/3 cup shredded provolone
1/3 cup whole-milk ricotta
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
1/4cup finely grated pecorino, plus more for serving
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 box spaghetti, cooked
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley, for serving

To make the sauce:

Heat 1/4 cup of oil and 6 cloves garlic in a large soup pot over medium heat. Cook until lightly browned, about 1 minutes. Make sure it doesn’t burn or else the sauce will taste bitter.

Add dried parsley, basil, tomatoes, salt, and pepper; cook for 60 minutes. Add sugar and cook until reduced and thick, about 20 minutes.

To make the meatballs:

Mix pork, beef, breadcrumbs, parmesan, pecorino, provolone, ricotta, 5 cloves of garlic, eggs, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.

Form into eight 2-1/2″ meatballs, about 6 oz. each. Get a helper. I got mine at Wholefood. He’s organic. Just kidding.

Heat remaining oil in a deep sauce pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add meatballs. Cook, turning, until browned, about 10 minutes.

To make the spaghetti and meatballs:

Transfer meatballs into sauce. Pour the jar of marinara on top and cook until cooked through, about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Meanwhile, boil water and cook dry spaghetti for 5 minutes before sauce is finished. Transfer par-boiled pasta into sauce, adding the pasta water as needed to help cook the pasta the rest of the way, about 3 minutes. Serve 2 to 3 meatballs and spaghetti with a generous pinch of parsley and extra Parmesan as desired.

For more photos, go to Flickr.

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