With three kinds of meat, these balls might just be the most flavorful and juicy in all the land.
For the marinara sauce
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 5 garlic cloves, crushed (minced)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2½ tbsp tomato paste
- 6 cups tomato puree
- 2½ tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 fresh bay leaves
For the meatballs
- 3 slices day-old (or older) white bread
- ¼ cup milk
- 225 g (½ lb) beef mince (ground beef)
- 225 g (½ lb) pork mince (ground pork)
- 225 g (½ lb) veal mince (ground veal)
- 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- ½ cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 2½ tbsp olive oil, plus more for cooking
- 3 tsp crushed chilli flakes, or to taste
- 3 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 3 large eggs
- canola oil, for greasing
- 450 g (1 lb) spaghetti
- chopped parsley
- freshly grated parmesan cheese
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Make the marinara sauce: Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium. Add the garlic and onion and cook until translucent and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and continue to cook until the colour deepens into a dark red and raw, “tinny” taste disappears, about 5 minutes. Pour in the tomato puree, sugar and bay leaves and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook for 1 hour, then keep warm.
Meanwhile, make the meatballs: In a large bowl and using your hands, tear the white bread into small pieces. Pour the milk over and mix to form a wet bread crumb. Add the meats, cheeses, breadcrumbs, olive oil, chilli flakes, pepper, salt and eggs. Work mixture with your hands until evenly combined.
Rub a few drop of canola oil into the palms of your hands, then form a golf ball-sized ball from the meat mixture. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining meat mixture, reapplying more canola oil to your hands as needed to avoid sticking.
Heat about 2 tbsp olive oil a large skillet over high. Working in batches, sear the meatballs until deep brown on all sides, about 3 minutes. Remove the balls from pan and immediately place into pot of simmering marinara sauce and simmer until cooked through, about 1 hour.
To serve, bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain, then transfer the spaghetti to a large serving platter. Top with the meatballs and marinara sauce and garnish with parsley and grated parmesan cheese