Pecorino Romano Meatballs & Spaghetti

by Lynne on June 3, 2012

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Pecorino Romano Meatballs and Spaghetti 2

If I was Italian, I might be calling this dish Pasta with Sunday Gravy. But I’m Norwegian, Danish, French and German, so I get to call it the American name, Spaghetti and Meatballs. But whatever it’s called, I had a big craving to make some and eat it all up ASAP. We had a guest for dinner and we ate every last morsel. I even licked my plate clean. Discretely, of course. If you are craving comfort food, this could be just the thing. And these are the best meatballs I have ever eaten.

Pecorino Romano Meatballs & Spaghetti

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Pecorino Romano Meatballs & Spaghetti

Pecorino Romano Meatballs

Makes 12 to 15 Meatballs

2 cups ¾-inch cubes of day-old sourdough bread
1 pound ground beef
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
3 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Tomato Pasta Sauce (recipe below)
Cooked pasta of choice (I used perciatelli)

1. Soak the bread in water to cover while you assemble the ingredients for the meatballs.

2. In a large bowl, place the ground beef, garlic, Romano cheese, minced parsley, salt and pepper. Squeeze the water out of the bread cubes and crumble into small pieces as added to bowl.

3. Mix ingredients together with a large spoon until evenly distributed. Pour the beaten egg over and incorporate.

4. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy bottomed skillet on high until shimmering. Form the meat mixture into 12 to 15 balls with your hands and add to skillet. Brown on all sides until cooked through and deep golden brown all over. Serve immediately with pasta and pasta sauce.

Tomato Pasta Sauce

Makes 8 cups

¼ cup olive oil
1 onion, finely minced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
½ medium carrot, finely grated
2 – 28-ounce cans peeled whole tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
Kosher salt to taste, about 1 teaspoon

1. In a dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until golden brown, 8-10 minutes. Stir periodically.

2. Add thyme and carrot and cook for 5 minutes. Watch carefully and keep stirring.

3. Place a strainer over the Dutch oven and empty one can of tomatoes into it. Pick up each tomato and squeeze the juice into the strainer, then squeeze and mash tomato with your hands, adding it to the onions in the pot. Continue with all tomatoes and juice in both cans. Hit the strainer on lip of pot to get all juice from the bottom. Discard seeds in strainer.

Note: Some of the tomatoes may have a hard green core, which should be removed and discarded.

4. Stir the pot contents together and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir often. Crush tomatoes in pot with a wooden spoon until as thick as cooked cereal. Season with salt to taste. Serve.

Note: Refrigerate for 1 week or freeze for 6 months.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Kim June 4, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Im with you on the meatballs. When I finally get around to “ten things you can’t make without eggs,” meatballs will be # 1. And, we are a 100% San Marzano household. 🙂


Bee (Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine) June 5, 2012 at 7:27 am

This looks so rustic and hearty–a good “stick to your ribs” kind of food. I love spaghetti and meatballs, but my family generally makes them with all processed stuff, even meatballs from a bag! I’d love to make this for them someday…

polwig June 5, 2012 at 7:05 pm

We love meatballs, even my 4 year old that will not eat anything lately. These look so good I am however surprised you are not adding any ground pork or sausage, intrigued, need to roll up my sleeves and make them soon.

Lentil Breakdown June 7, 2012 at 7:39 am

Did you have to go make me crave meat? Damn, girl! Don’t make me fall off the wagon!

sippitysup June 8, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Meatballs. It’s even fun to say! GREG

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