Spaghetti and Meatballs

These meatballs freeze well, and are great for both sandwiches and spaghetti. This is an easy recipe to double for a crowd.

Spaghetti and Meatballs
Serves 6

1 cup (about 3 ounces) panko bread crumbs
3/4 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 cup of plain yogurt thinned with 1/4 cup milk)
3/4 teaspoon powdered gelatin, dissolved in 1-1/2 tablespoons cold water
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 pound 85-percent lean pasture-raised ground beef
1/2 pound pasture-raised ground pork
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped fine
1-1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 3/4 cup)
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
2 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 1-1/2 teaspoons)
Sea salt and ground black pepper

1-1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup grated onion (grate on largest holes on a box grater)
3 medium garlic cloves, minced  (about 3 teaspoons)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
3 cups tomato sauce
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
3 tablespoons dry white wine
Sea salt and ground black pepper

1-1/2 pounds spaghetti
1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
1-1/2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

Place wire racks in 1 foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Adjust oven racks to lower-middle and upper-middle positions and heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine bread crumbs, buttermilk, and gelatin mixture in large bowl, mashing well with fork, until smooth paste forms. Rest about 10 minutes.

Add eggs, pork, Parmesan, parsley, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to bread-crumb mixture. Using hands, gently mix until thoroughly combined. Add beef, prosciutto and mix again. Lightly form about ¼ cup mixture into 2-inch round meatball (about 2 ounces); repeat with remaining mixture to form approximately 20 meatballs.

Spray wire racks with nonstick cooking spray and place meatballs, evenly spaced, on racks; roast until browned, about 30 minutes, rotating trays from front to back and top to bottom halfway through.

While meatballs roast, heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden around edges, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, and oregano; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, wine, 1½ teaspoons salt, and pepper to taste. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. If needed, add a bit of water.

Remove meatballs from oven and lower oven temperature to 300 degrees. Gently add meatballs to sauce, cover pot, and place in oven. Cook until meatballs are firm and sauce has thickened, about 1 hour.

Bring 5 quarts water to boil in 6-quart pot. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt to boiling water; cook until al dente. Drain pasta and return it to cooking pot.

Stir basil and parsley into sauce and adjust seasoning, if needed, with sugar, salt, or pepper. Toss pasta with 3/4 of the sauce until lightly coated. Serve pasta, passing meatballs, remaining sauce, and grated Parmesan separately.