Spaghetti and Fontina Stuffed Meatballs Recipe
“Hunger makes you restless. you dream about food — not just any food, but perfect food, the best food, magical meals, famous and awe-inspiring, the one piece of meat, the exact taste of buttery corn, tomatoes so ripe they split and sweeten the air, beans so crisp they snap between the teeth, gravy like mother’s milk singing to your bloodstream.” ~Dorothy Allis
Many of you have been asking me for an old rustic recipe of Spaghetti and Meatballs. The one that grandmas make and take it to their graves. Now if you ever met me, then you know I will never be that grandma, I get too excited about food and I talk way too much to be able to keep such a secret. Plus I believe food isn’t nearly as much fun unless shared.
So today is the day for my fontina stuffed meatballs served with spaghetti and home made marinara or arrabiata sauce; because there’s nothing better than the intoxicating smell of tomato sauce simmering away on the stove in grandma’s kitchen.
I remember being a little girl in the middle of August, and helping mom blanch the tomatoes and pass them through the machine that separates the skins and seeds, resulting in a smooth sauce that we would then can to last us through the winter.Today I still try to get back to the basics, way past the machinery and special utensils, to a time when your hands and maybe a sharp knife was all you needed.
For a rich and fragrant marinara sauce you must start with San Marzano tomatoes, good quality extra virgin olive oil and finish it up with a few sprigs of fragrant fresh basil. Or you can try this classic arrabiata tomato sauce which is just a spicy version of marinara sauce. The only secret in this recipe is to make everything from scratch with the best ingredients you can find and sprinkle it with lots of love. And of course, don’t forget the Fontina cheese for a nice little surprise when you bite into those tender meatballs.
- 1 lb organic grass fed ground beef
- 3 garlic cloves – grated
- ¼ c bread crumbs -dried & plain
- 1 slice bread -1 inch thick
- ½ c milk
- ⅓ c ricotta cheese
- 1 organic egg -lightly beaten
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ¼c fresh parsley -chopped
- ¾ tsp sea salt + more to taste
- freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- parmigiano reggianno cheese, for grating
- ¼ lb fontina cheese cut into ¼ inch cubes
- 1 lb spaghetti, organic
- 4 tbsp toasted pine nuts, for garnish
- Soak the sliced bread in the milk for a few minutes, squeeze the milk out and add the bread to a bowl. Combine it with the ground beef, garlic, parsley, baking soda,ricotta cheese, salt, pepper and the egg.
- Mix everything with wet hands and add the bread crumbs. Shape the mixture into golf ball size meatballs and arrange them on a cookie sheet.
- Press 1 cube of the fontina cheese into each meatball and reshape to encapsulate the cheese completely.
- Transfer each meatball into the simmering sauce making sure to coat evenly. Cover with a lid and let them simmer in the sauce for about 5 minutes until cooked through.
- Cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on the package and toss them with the marinara or arrabiata sauce. (Reserve the rest of the sauce for later ) Transfer to a serving platter and add the meatballs on top. Grate some parmigiano reggiano on top and sprinkle with some parsley and basil leaves.
- Tip: Make the marinara sauce first and half way through start working on the meatballs, and bring the pot of pasta water to a boil.