better spaghetti and meatballs



2 1/4 cups (6 oz) panko bread crumbs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 lbs 85% lean ground beef
1 lb ground pork
6 oz thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped fine
3 oz Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
6 Tbsp minced fresh parsley leaves
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed (1 Tbsp)
1 1/2 tsp powdered gelatin, dissolved in 3 Tbsp water
salt and pepper


3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups grated onion (1-2 onions)
6 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed (2 Tbsp)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
6 cups bottled tomato juice
3 cans (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
6 Tbsp dry white wine
salt and pepper
3 lbs spaghetti
1/2 cup minced fresh basil leaves
3 Tbsp minced fresh parsley leaves
granulated sugar
grated Parmesan cheese for serving



  1. Place wire racks in 2 foil-lined rimmed baking sheets. Adjust oven racks to lower-middle and upper-middle positions and heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine bread crumbs and buttermilk in large bowl and let sit, mashing occasionally with fork, until smooth paste forms, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add eggs, beef, pork, prosciutto, Parmesan, parsley, garlic, gelatin mixture, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to bread-crumb mixture. Using hands, gently mix until thoroughly combined. Lightly form about 1/4 /cup mixture into 2-inch round meatball (about 2 ounces), repeat with remaining mixture to form approximately 40 meatballs.
  3. Spray wire racks with nonstick cooking spray and place meatballs, evenly spaced, on racks; roast until browned, about 30 minutes, rotating trays from front to back and top to bottom halfway through.


  1. While meatballs roast, heat olive oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden around edges, 6-8 minutes. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, and oregano; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomato juice, crushed tomatoes, wine, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and pepper to taste. Increase heat to medium high and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.
  2. Remove meatballs from oven and lower oven temperature to 300 degrees. Gently add meatballs to sauce, cover pot, and place in oven. Cook until meatballs are firm and sauce has thickened, about 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, bring 10 quarts water to boil in 12-quart pot, Add pasta and 2 tablespoons salt to boiling water; cook until al dente. Drain pasta and return to cooking pot.

to serve

  1. Stir basil and parsley into sauce and adjust seasoning with sugar, salt, and pepper. Toss pasta with 1 1/2 cups sauce until lightly coated. Serve pasta, passing meatballs, remaining sauce, and grated Parmesan separately.

nutritional information: not available

yield: 12 servings
time: n/a
source: Andrew Janjigian, Cooks Illustrated, NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s