Prep 20 mins
Cook 40 mins
A fresh, bright tomato sauce with flavorfull meatballs that contain a little surprise. The thyme woven into each component brings the meal together with an herby twist to a classic.
- 4 carrots, finely chopped
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 (28 ounce) cans chopped tomatoes (I use Pomi)
- 1 (28 ounce) can tomato sauce (I use Pomi)
- 8 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 -5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1⁄2 cup red wine
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons basil
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 2 teaspoons pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 ounces bite-size fresh mozzarella cheese balls
- 1 (8 ounce) package spaghetti
- Prep: finely chop the onion and divide in half. Part for the meatballs and part for the sauce.
- For the sauce:.
- In a large saucepan, saute 1/2 the chopped onion, chopped carrot, chopped garlic in 5 tbsp of olive oil. Saute until onions are translucent. Should take about 5 minutes. Strip the leaves off 5 sprigs of thyme and add to the sauteing mixture. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Add red wine to the pan and let the alcohol burn off. Stir to get any flavor bits off the bottom. Let cook another minute or two until wine has reduced by half.
- Add chopped tomato, strained tomato, basil, and oregano. Bring to a low simmer. Cover and let simmer for 20 minute While its simmering, prepare the meatballs.
- If you like chunky sauce, leave as is. If you prefer more smooth, use a hand blender to smooth out the sauce. Or put in batches into a blender and return to the sauce pan.
- For the meatballs:.
- Combine ground beef, other half of chopped onion, pinch of salt and pepper, whisked eggs, and breadcrumbs.
- Chop the remaining 3 sprigs thyme and add to ground beef mixture.
- Use your hands to massage the mixture until just blended. Don't over-mix.
- Form into golf ball size meatballs. Gently, roll them between your hands. Do not squish or compress the meatballs. Press a mozzarella ball into the middle of the meatball. (If mini mozzarella balls are not available, cut 1 sq cm pieces from a block of fresh mozzarella.) Make sure mozzarella is completely surrounded by the meatball.
- (You can skip this next step if you want. But it does add some good flavor. If you skip, simply add the meatballs directly to your simmering sauce and let cook for 30 minutes.
- In a large pan, add 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil on medium high heat. Sear the meatballs on all sides. Make sure to not overcrowd the pan (this will steam the meatball instead). As each meatball is browned on each side, add to the sauce.
- Once all meatballs are in the saucepan, leave it at a low simmer and let cook for 30 minutes.
- Cook pasta according to package directions and top with your delicious Not Short on Thyme Meatballs and Sauce.