Cooking the meatballs in the sauce enhances the flavor of both the sauce and the meatballs. This classic Italian-American dish is perfectly complemented by a nice glass of California sangiovese. Serves four people.
- Heat the butter, olive oil, celery, carrots and onion in a large pot over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften.
- Add the wine and cook until the wine is almost completely evaporated. Add the tomatoes, 1 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. of the pepper and broth and simmer for two hours. Break up the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon, if necessary.
- Stir the sauce occasionally and watch for signs of drying out. Add more broth if the sauce becomes too dry.
- Place the meat, bread crumbs, cheese, basil, egg, 2 tbsp. water, remaining salt and pepper in a food processor. Process until smooth.
- Using your hands, form the meat mixture into bite-sized balls.
- Taste the sauce and add more seasoning if desired. Add the meatballs to the sauce and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. There should be no red showing when a meatball is cut open.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain.
- Serve in large bowls with pasta on the bottom and some sauce with the meatballs over the top. Sprinkle on some of the parmesan and parsley as well.
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 1/4 lbs. ground beef
- 1 c. chicken broth
- 1 large egg - beaten
- 1 large rib of celery - finely chopped
- 1 lb. spaghetti noodles
- 1 small onion - peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1/2 c. fresh bread crumbs
- 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus more for garnish
- 1/2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/4 c. freshly chopped basil
- 1/4 c. olive (not virgin) oil
- 2 lbs. plum tomatoes - cored, seeded and diced (or canned tomatoes, drained)
- 2 medium carrots - peeled and finely chopped
- 3/4 c. red wine
- freshly chopped Italian parsley for garnish