Top | Beef

Spaghetti and Meatballs

(recipe, John Torode)

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  1. ⅔ cup olive oil
  2. 2 large onions, finely chopped
  3. Salt and pepper
  4. 3 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  5. 2 lb. ground beef
  6. 1 handful chopped fresh parsley, or other herbs
  7. 1 cup red wine
  8. 6 large fresh tomatoes, chopped
  9. 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  10. 1 lb. dried spaghetti
  11. Freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Put the olive oil in a Dutch oven. Add the onions, plenty of black pepper, and some salt. Turn the heat to medium and cook the onions slowly until soft, but not colored. Remove from the heat.
  2. Put 1 cup water in a large bowl. Add the breadcrumbs and half the cooked onions, lifting them out of the pot with a slotted spoon. Lift out the rest of the onions, leaving as much oil as possible in the pot, and set them aside for the sauce.
  3. Add the beef, chopped parsley, and lots of seasoning to the crumbs. Mix until the whole thing becomes a paste, then shape into balls about the size of a Ping-Pong ball.
  4. Put the Dutch oven back over high heat, add the meatballs, and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. Gently turn them and continue browning. Take them out and set aside. Add the reserved cooked onions to the pot along with the wine. As it boils, scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.
  5. Add the fresh tomatoes and stir over high heat until they start to break down. Add the canned tomatoes and half the can of water. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Put the meatballs back in the pot and return to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti. I like to put everything together in the pot for serving, but many don’t, so it’s your choice.