Spaghetti and meatballs, a simple, exotic cuisine
February 15 2018 08:59 PM
CLASSIC: The dish is considered a family staple when it comes to dinner time. Photo by author

Whenever I carve for classic dish spaghetti and meat-balls is one of the top dishes in my list. This is a simple yet exotic dish with its old school charm. Almost everyone has at one point in their life got to experience this culinary masterpiece.
This is considered a family staple when it comes to dinner time. The comfort of a heaping plate of pasta soaked in marinara sauce and delectable meatballs is simply great. Contrary to a popular belief, if you travel to Italy, you won’t likely find a dish called spaghetti and meatballs on the menu. While it is largely known as an Italian dish, spaghetti and meatballs actually didn’t originate there. Sure, Italy has their own version of meatballs, but they are different from what you’ve likely had in the past. They are called “polpettes” and are primarily eaten without spaghetti. They are also made with any meat from turkey to fish, instead of primarily ground beef and are made no bigger than golf balls. Spaghetti and meatballs in Italy is largely to satisfy the carvings of the typical American or international travellers.
The origin of spaghetti and meatballs started with Italian immigrants coming to America in early 1900’s. The majority of immigrants were extremely impoverished and had been spending majority of their income on food in Italy compared to US. Meat quickly became staple and families were putting meatballs more frequently on the table. Then came the sauce, for American cooks “Sailor Sauce” dominated Italian American cuisine because canned tomatoes were among the only items available at local grocers. The marinara sauce originated from Naples and comes from the Italian word “Marinaro”, meaning sailor.
Spaghetti also became instant hit in United States as it was easily available and had long shelf life and was economic and easily affordable by the masses. Soon chefs started combining the spaghetti, marinara sauce and the meatballs together and thus the dish spaghetti and meatballs was made. Even seasonings like garlic, hot pepper flakes and oregano became more and more prominent that immigrants used as they were assimilated into American culture.
Spaghetti and meatballs

Serves 2
For tomato sauce
Peeled tomato 500 gm
Olive oil 1/4 cup
Garlic cloves 10-12 cloves
Red pepper flakes 1/2 tsp
Oregano 1 tsp
Bay leaves 2 leaves
Kosher salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Basil leaves 1/2 cup
For  meatballs
Ground beef 300 gm
Stale bread, torn 1 cup
Milk 1 cup
Eggs 2
Garlic, chopped 4-5 cloves
Parmesan cheese, grated 1 cup
Parsley, chopped 1/2 cup
Oregano 1 tsp
Fennel seeds 1/2 tsp
red pepper flakes 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Black pepper, crushed to taste
Olive oil 1/4 cup
Spaghetti pasta 300 gm

For the tomato sauce, heat oil in a heavy bottom pot over medium heat and add garlic
Blanch and peel the tomato and cut them in rough dices and add to the pot
Add red pepper flakes, bayleaf, salt, oregano, crushed black pepper, salt and stir well
Break the tomato with the spatula and simmer until the sauce thickens and the sauce reduces to almost half 
For the meatballs place bread in a bowl and add milk and soak for 5 minutes
Squeeze the bread and remove excess milk and tear the bread into small pieces using a fork
Combine the ground beef, egg, garlic, parmesan cheese, parsley, salt, oregano, pepper, fennel and red pepper flakes in a large bowl
Mix well to combine all the ingredients until they are evenly distributed
Fill a small bowl with cold water, moisten your hands and roll the meat mixture between palms into golf sized balls, occasionally moistening hands as needed
Place meetballs on a sheet tray, refrigerate the  meatballs 
Once the sauce thickens remove from flame and allow to cool down at room temperature
Remove the bayleaf and bland in a for processor to a smooth consistency
In a large skillet eat oil over medium heat add the meatballs to skillet and brown the meatballs, turning them carefully, return the meatballs to sheet tray
Once all the meatballs are browned add them to a pot with tomato sauce and simmer them on slow flame
Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked 
Meanwhile boil spaghetti pasta in a pot with salt till al dente 
Drain the liquid, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid 
Take the pasta in a sauce pan and add tomato sauce and meatball
Also add some pasta cooking liquid to loosen the pasta and toss to combine well
Serve the pasta in pasta bowl and sprinkle remaining parmesan cheese on top.

* Chef Tarun Kapoor, Culinary Mastermind, USA. He may be contacted at [email protected]

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