Spaghetti, sauce, and meatballs using fresh pasta
A few facts
Spaghetti and meatballs became popular in the 1800s in southern Italy (Sicily and Puglia). It seems like it was a main staple in the Godfather movies if memory serves, and that’s my point. It has really become more of an Italian-American dish. Italians tend to eat pasta for the primo course and meat in the secondo course and usually do not mix the two (see my discussion of courses in the antipasto article). But of course you can find spaghetti and meatballs in restaurants all over Italy especially in those that cater to tourists. As an aside, it is common for Italians to eat their spaghetti without tomato sauce. In fact, fresh spaghetti pasta with almost anything is splendid – no, magnifico!
Fresh spaghetti pasta – umm umm good
I know spaghetti and meatballs sounds mundane, but when you make it with fresh pasta it’s “lights out” superb. If you are making sauce every few weeks like I suggested in an earlier article, then all you need to do is concentrate on the pasta and meatballs. You will need a special apparatus that attaches to your pasta maker (see the photo below) that cuts the pasta sheets into spaghetti.
Pasta maker with attachment for spaghetti.
Ingredients (6 servings):
Once you have the pasta dough in sheets as shown in the pasta dough recipe (I use a thickness setting on my pasta maker of 4 out of 6 – but of course it may vary from maker to maker. I hope this gives you some sense of how thick the sheets should be – see photo below), lay it out on the table. You can cut dough into individual sheets each about 8 inches long.
The pasta sheet in this picture is about 5 x 8”.
At this point it is extremely critical to let the dough dry some. Do not run it through the spaghetti maker immediately or you will have blobs of dough. Let it lay for about 15 minutes and than turn and wait another 15 minutes. The time will vary (possibly by more than a half hour), because doughs will have different moisture and room temperature can vary. I would suggest a total of 45 minutes at most before you use the dough in the maker. The key is to use it before the edges become hard (the maker will not cut the hard edges). Once the pasta has dried for the approximate times given above, you are ready to put it through the spaghetti maker. The pictures below are better than any words I can add. Cook the pasta for two to six minutes in boiling salted water (with a dash of olive oil added). The pasta will float when it is ready. But you may wish to remove sooner depending on whether you like al dente or not. Add the sauce, meatballs, and parmesan and you are ready to go. Enjoy!
Starting the spaghetti
Getting toward the end.
I would say that the best examples of Italian wine are Prosecco (a chngapmae type wine from the Veneto the area to the north of Venice), Pinot Grigio (probably the most famous Italian white) and Chianti Classico (probably the most famous Italian red). I am not sure what you mean by Italian-esque, unless you mean American wines that are made from Italian grape varieties, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir are both grown by most of the major Californian wine makers so perhaps they would be okay.