There’s a secret ingredient that adds a ton of flavor.
Everyone knows that there is some serious magic that grandmothers put into their cooking. Some say grandma’s cooking tastes best because of the love she puts in, and that’s certainly true. But, the other half of that equation is many years of cooking experience and know-how. When you’ve been cooking for decades, you learn how to adjust recipes, create your own concoctions, and generally boost the flavor of any dish you make, like this recipe for spaghetti and meatballs.
This main dish is packed full of flavor and this is because there are a few special ingredients in the mix. For starters you add in homemade breadcrumbs to bind the meatballs together. To make this you’ll need 5 slices of day-old bread put through the food processor. You could use sourdough for even more flavor here.
Then the meatballs get extra oomph from the addition of ranch seasoning mix. This might sound unconventional for an Italian dish, but it just adds that special bit of flavor. The finished result doesn’t have an overtly ranch flavor, but just tastes well-seasoned and savory. Half a diced green bell pepper also goes into the meatball mix. This type of cooking isn’t complicated, but it is so good.
The sauce is actually also pretty simple. Rather than load it down with a lot of expensive ingredients, the sauce is made from plain canned tomato sauce, that other half of the bell pepper, onion, Italian seasoning, and some salt and pepper.
There’s no doubt that meatballs are the star of the show in this recipe, but there is something about a nice and simple tomato sauce that really hits the spot and compliments the meatballs so well.
Serve granny’s spaghetti and meatballs with some grated parmesan cheese and garlic bread or Texas toast and get ready to be transported back to grandma’s kitchen with this yummy dinner.
Granny's Spaghetti and Meatballs
20m prep time
1h 5m cook time
For the meatballs:
- 1 lb ground beef
- 5 slices of day-old bread
- 1/2 green bell pepper, finely diced
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1/2 packet of powdered ranch seasoning
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped and divided
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 /4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
For the pasta and sauce:
- 3 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 bell pepper, diced
- 1/4 cup white onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 29oz-cans of plain tomato sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 1-lb box spaghetti
- Grated parmesan cheese to taste (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350˚. Chop bread into very small pieces or use a food processor or blender to make them into breadcrumbs.
- In a large bowl combine ground beef, black pepper, bread crumbs, egg, bell pepper, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and olive oil. Using your clean hands to mix will work best here.
- Form into 20 equal meatballs using a small scoop or you hands. Place in single layer on rimmed baking sheet.
- Bake for 18 minutes. When cooked remove from oven and set aside.
- For the sauce, sauteé onion and pepper in olive oil over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes or until vegetables are beginning to soften.
- Add Italian seasoning and tomato sauce and reduce heat to medium-low heat. Gently place meatballs in sauce and fold to coat with sauce, but do not stir or break up meatballs.
- Simmer for 10 minutes, but do not boil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Make your spaghetti while the sauce simmers.
- Just before serving add remaining parsley to sauce. Serve sauce and meatballs over pasta and garnish with parmesan cheese to taste.
Recipe adapted from Southern Farm and Kitchen.