You might think a proper meatball needs to simmer all afternoon, ideally on a nonna’ stovetop. But meatballs actually don’t need that much time –or very many ingredients –to cook. You can make delicious ones in less than half an hour. Just cook them through in a simple tomato sauce ( the only herb you need is fresh parsley). Be sure to put the pasta water on to cook while you cook the meatballs so they’re ready at the same time, then serve with a bottle of Barbera or Montepulciano. This recipe makes enough meatballs for more than one meal; serve leftovers in sandwiches.
Serves 2, with leftovers
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 ounce), plus more for serving
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg
1 pound ground beef chuck (80% lean)
1/4 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes in puree
8 ounces spaghetti
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. In a bowl, combine Parmesan, parsley, garlic, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add beef and breadcrumbs; mix gently. Form into 16 balls.
- In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium. Add meatballs and cook, turning until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer; cover partially and cook, stirring occasionally, until meatballs are cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente according to package instructions. Drain and return to pot; and meatballs and sauce, and toss gently. Serve with Parmesan.