Creating memories in the kitchen...One meal at a time.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Slow Cooker Spaghetti and Meatballs

Okay, I know we bombarded you with holiday recipes. We still have a fabulous New Year's up our sleeves plus something super exciting coming in January! We won't be posting much during the holidays so we'd like to leave you with a recipe to help you during this Christmas Crunch time. We hope you have a Happy Holiday and Wonderful New Year! Thanks for all the great comments and compliments we have received! Check back later for that New Year's Brunch!

Every year our Book Club has a fun Christmas Party. This year's theme was Italian. One of my favorites. Because it seemed like I had about 2 million other things going this same weekend I was on the look out for something I could prepare ahead and not be bothered with the day of the party. Cook's Country to the rescue. This is my new favorite marinara sauce! I love the flavor it gets from the meatballs which are cooked right in the sauce in your crockpot. You can make the sauce and meatballs ahead of time and keep them separated until ready to bake. One change I will make next time is to use spicy italian sausage for the meatballs. My husband and I love a little kick! The recipe says it serves 6 but I have made this twice and gotten over 20 meatballs each time. I would say serves 8.

Slow Cooker Spaghetti and Meatballs
Cooks Country

Serves 6-8

Tip* Microwave the meatballs on a large plate or in a casserole dish to contain the rendering fat. You will need two 4.5-ounce tubes or one 6-ounce can of tomato paste. This recipe makes enough sauce to coat 1 1/2 pounds of pasta. Use a garlic press to mince the 8 cloves quickly.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped fine
2/3 cup tomato paste (equivalent to one 6 oz can.)
8 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup red wine (I used Marsala cooking wine)
2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 pound Italian sausage , casings removed (spicy if you want a little kick)
2 large eggs
1 1/4 pounds 85 percent lean ground beef
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil

1. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, tomato paste, 6 garlic cloves, oregano, pepper flakes, and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook until golden, about 8 minutes.
2. Transfer half of onion mixture to large bowl; set aside. Add wine to pot with remaining onion mixture and cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, then transfer to slow cooker.
3. Add ½ cup Parmesan, mozzarella, sausage, eggs, ¾ teaspoon salt, and remaining garlic to bowl with reserved onion mixture. Mash with potato masher until smooth. Add beef and cream to bowl and knead with hands until well combined. Form mixture into twelve 2-inch meatballs.
4. Microwave meatballs on large plate until fat renders and meatballs are firm, 4 to 7 minutes. Nestle meatballs in slow cooker, discarding rendered fat. Cover and cook on low until meatballs are tender and sauce is slightly thickened, 4 to 5 hours. Skim fat. Stir in basil and remaining Parmesan. Season with salt. Serve over pasta.

MAKE AHEAD Raw meatballs and sauce can be refrigerated separately up to 24 hours in advance. When ready to cook, add sauce to slow cooker and microwave meatballs before adding them to the slow cooker. Continue with recipe as directed.

Posted by: Sallie and Julia
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Meese Chanon said...

Thanks for posting this... looking all over and not trying to pay for it!!

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