Mama Didi's Spaghetti and Meatballs

8 Servings
Carb: Spaghetti
Protein: Beef
Veg: Plum Tomatos

This is quite possibly the BEST pasta sauce I've ever tasted. Literally THE BEST. I've never made pasta sauce from canned whole tomatoes before, but now I don't think I'll ever be able to go back. Haha! I think it's the flavor combo of bay leaves, fennel and oregano. Also the texture of this sauce is just what I've been looking for! It's got bits of tomato all through it and it's not too chunky or runny.

16oz package Spaghetti
4 28oz cans of whole peeled Plum Tomatoes
1 Onion, diced
2 Garlic cloves, sliced
1 tsp Fennel Seeds
1 Tbsp dry Oregano
2 Bay Leaves
2 tsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Salt or to taste
1/2 tsp Pepper or to taste
3 Tbsp Canola Oil

Meatballs (makes about 18)
2 lbs Ground Beef
1 cup plain Breadcrumbs
1/2 cup Romano Cheese, finely shredded
2 large Eggs
1/4 Shallot, finely diced
1/4 fresh Parsley, finely shredded
1 tsp Fennel seeds
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
2 Tbsp Canola Oil

The Recipe:
1. Mix Ground Beef, Breadcrumbs, Romano Cheese, Eggs, Shallot, Parsley, Fennel, Salt and Pepper together by hand.
2. Shape into 1.5 inch meatballs and place on large cookie sheet.
3. Heat 2 Tbsp Canola oil in large skillet.
4. Brown Meatballs in batches of 5-6 at a time. These will not be cooked through. Set aside as they will finish cooking along with the sauce. (Drain oil from skillet and set aside for later)

5. Start the sauce by heating 3 Tbsp Canola Oil in large a stockpot (stainless steel or enameled cast iron only) on medium heat.
6. Add Onion and Garlic and a pinch of salt. Keep stirring until softened. Do not let burn.
7. Crush tomatoes with hands and add with juices to the pot. Don't worry if it's not completely crushed to bits - they're going to cook down.
8. Raise heat to med-high. As soon as tomatoes comes to boil, add meatballs.
9. Carefully stir from the bottom of the pot to cover the meatballs. Let come to a boil again.
10. As soon as it comes to a boil again, immediately lower heat and let simmer for 30 minutes covered.
11. Uncover and add Fennel, Oregano, Bay Leaves, Sugar, Salt and Pepper. Let it simmer uncovered for 3 hours. Stirring every 30 minutes.
12. In the last 30 minutes of cooking boil spaghetti according to package directions. Do not add oil to the water it will make the noodles slippery and they won't soak up the sauce.
13. Heat skillet used to brown meatballs on low.
14. Add pasta sauce and spaghetti and gently stir with tongs to coat spaghetti.

1. Place pasta on plate and top with 2-3 meatballs per person.

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