Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Quick Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs with Broccoli

Quick Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs with Broccoli...

With such a beautiful day outside our family was out getting the yard in spring mode.  I pulled out overgrown grass around the bushes and dumped 25 bags of mulch.  I was exhausted and then thought, what am I going to do for dinner?

I had canned tomatoes and other pantry items on hand...and so it began.  Everyone knows how to boil pasta, so it is only a matter of choosing what kind of pasta you want.  I was thinking the thin spaghetti would cook the fastest.  I use whole wheat pastas, so the penne and such takes a little longer than regular pasta...but the thin spaghetti cooks QUICK!  So that is number one for this quick meal.

While the pasta is boiling, you start the marinara.  No, I don't open Ragu or one of those other disgusting sauces.  I make my own!  I don't know the last time I bought a jar of the other stuff.  I know you are thinking that it must take forever.  When I use my garden tomatoes and make roasted tomato sauce, it does take awhile.  I found this simple recipe by Giada De Laurentiis that is amazing in a pinch! 

I had a part of an onion in the fridge left from another recipe.  I chopped that up and noticed I was out of fresh garlic.  Luckily I had shallots to use.  I put them in a pan with olive oil and sauted them for 10 minutes.  I put two 28 ounce cans of tomatoes, oregano, basil, sugar, salt and pepper in a blender and hit puree.  Add it to the saute and there is your sauce!  I'll put the recipe on this page!  Try it, you will never buy a jar again.  You can make a big batch of sauce and can them or freeze them for later.  Uh oh, did I scare you off?  Okay, back to EASY spaghetti sauce.

I usually make these fabulous meatballs, but they are baked in the oven and take awhile.  I told you I was tired, so here are my quick meatballs.  I had ground turkey in the fridge, so I added the rest of the shallots, worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper; and made a couple of hamburgers.  When they were almost done I cut them up with the spatula and let it finish cooking.

I know it looks a mess, but who cares.  It tasted great!

That's really it.  I heated up some broccoi, which I always have in the freezer, and dinner was ready in no time!  Quick and easy!  Don't worry, next time I will share my "meatball suprise" recipe that the kids love.

Quick Marinara Sauce
by Giada De Laurentiis


2 (28 oz) cans whole tomatoes in juice (I used canned, diced tomatoes)
1 bunch of fresh basil, stemmed (I used dried)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped (I only had one)
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped (I had no more fresh garlic, I used shallots)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a blender, puree the tomatoes with their juice and the bsil until almost smooth.  Set the tomato puree aside.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic and saute until very tender, about 12 minutes.  Stir in tomatoe puree, oregano, and sugar.  Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Decrease the heat to medium and continue simmering until the sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.  Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.  (the sauce can be made ahead.  If storing for future use, cool, then cover and refrigerate.  Rewarm over medium heat before using.)

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