Spaghetti with Homemade Meatballs
These hearty meatballs are each stuffed with a cube of mozzarella cheese, which melts inside as the meatballs cook. When preparing the meat mixture, use your hands to gently mix the ground beef and other ingredients until just combined; do not overmix or the meatballs will be dense.
- 3 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, finely diced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups torn pieces crustless white bread (1/2-inch pieces)
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 lb. ground beef
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
- 5 oz. mozzarella cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 7 cups tomato sauce (see related recipe at left)
- 1 1/2 lb. spaghetti, cooked and drained
- Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for serving
In a large sauté/simmer pan over medium heat, warm 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the onion and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Let cool.
In a bowl, combine the bread and buttermilk. Add the ground beef, onion mixture, parsley, thyme, 2 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper and mix with your hands until cohesive. Form the mixture into 10 meatballs. Stuff a cheese cube into the center of each one, then reroll the meatball.
In the same pan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil. Working in 2 batches, brown the meatballs, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate. Reduce the heat to medium, pour the tomato sauce into the pan and add the meatballs. Simmer, turning the meatballs once, until they are cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes.
Divide the spaghetti among individual bowls and top with the sauce and meatballs. Pass the cheese alongside. Serves 5 to 6.