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« Strawberry French Toast - Yum! | Main | Apple Pie Sky »

That’s Amore

By Marilyn Hunter

There are a few dinners I remember from my childhood that stand out as special.  Spaghetti and Meatballs is one of them. I’ve always considered it the quintessential Italian meal. The best thing about spaghetti, besides the fun of eating it, is the joy of sharing this communal meal with friends and family.

Just like my childhood memories, spaghetti and meatballs equals love in our house. It’s comfort food that somehow remains unchanged from generation to generation. Nicky loves it as much as Benny, and I love to watch them eat it…twirling their spaghetti into a spoon, marinara dripping down their chins.

Growing up, simple food and good friends were always most important at our dinner table. This continues to be our recipe for happiness. One day Benny and Nicky will look back at their family dinners with fondness, just as I do.

So this one’s for you, mom. Thank you for a life of family dinners that I’ll always remember. Thank you for setting an example I will forever follow. My family taught me that every meal should be a celebration. That’s amore!

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Taking a few shortcuts, like buying your own sauce and cooking the meatballs in the simmering sauce, will help you get dinner on the table fast and the enjoy the family more.

1 jar (your favorite) marinara sauce
1 pound lean ground beef
1 small onion, grated
½ cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 egg
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound spaghetti, cooked al dente
4 to 5 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced (garnish)

1 large glass of Chianti for you

Place the sauce in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer.  In a large bowl, gently combine beef, onion, bread crumbs, cheese, egg, parsley, salt and pepper, and shape into 1 ½-inch meatballs. Place the meatballs in the simmering sauce, cover and cook, turning meatballs over once, for about 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Ladle meatballs and sauce over warm spaghetti. Sprinkle with additional grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and fresh basil (the more the merrier).

Buon Appetito!

Special Fork bloggers blog Monday through Friday. For more recipes and ideas on your smartphone, check us out at Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @specialforksndy.

Reader Comments (14)

AAAhhh - that's so sweet. Well, make me all weepy at 6:30 in the morning. Love you!

September 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSusie Mayes

Dear Marilyn,
What a wonderful way to honor your very dear mother. And don't all children look the same eating spaghetti?
Lots of hugs all around.

September 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJean Darland

mmmmm! love both the story and the recipe. the behr family similarly was raised loving food and family time around the table. i have a fabulous spagetti memory of pj, now 6'5", but at the time just barely 2 yrs old, eating spagetti on his own, face and hands COVERED in orange hues, grinning in his high chair at the table. i know a picture of this exists somewhere....

September 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterheidi

Love it! Almost everyone has a great childhood memory of eating spaghetti, don't they?

September 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarilyn Hunter

Thanks Jean! Yes, you're right...even babies in highchairs.

September 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarilyn Hunter

Marilyn, spaghetti dinners are also a favorite at our house. Our variation is to use italian sausage instead of ground beef. The best part is happy smiling faces, though. Benny's quiet smile is still in my minds eye from my visit in the spring. Tony

September 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTony Hunter

Love this much warmth and meaning to a recipe! This is wonderful for the boys to look back one day and see the history behind their spaghetti and meatball dinner :)

September 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertam lontok

I don't remember Mam-maw cooking spaghetti. She burned me out on hamburger patties for Pap-Paw! But I still love spagetti and meatballs.

September 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLynise McDonald

Well now I'm in tears. I never thought I was doing anything to remember but guess the memories are made as life goes by. Loved seeing Benny enjoying those meatballs and spaghetti. Thanks for remenbering. Love, Mom

October 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPatsy McAdam

Thanks Tony, how wonderful! Great tip on the Italian sausage.

October 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarilyn Hunter

Thanks Tam. So thrilled you're following Special Fork!

October 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarilyn Hunter

That's funny Lynise. What a great memory!

October 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarilyn Hunter

i love your story aunt meme!!!!
and today nana made some spaghetti!

October 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEmma McAdam

Thanks Emma. Bravo!

October 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarilyn Hunter

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