July 23, 2024
Slathered in a plain red sauce or stuffed in a hoagie, it's all good.

By Carla Vigos | Laguna Woods Globe cooking columnist

September is my birthday month. It’s a time for reflection of all the special times and people in my life. I love my Italian heritage, and I am a huge fan of the food – which for most Italians go hand in hand.

There are so many memories tied to the food my mother made. I think that’s one reason I love to cook.

Spaghetti and meatballs is a comfort food memory. When the garlic hits the olive oil, it brings back memories of when I helped my mother in the kitchen.

Sunday was sauce day. We would invite relatives over for spaghetti, and play cards after the meal.

This month, meatballs are the star of this column, with a plain red sauce.

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2 pounds 80% ground beef

2 eggs

2 to 3 large garlic cloves, minced

1 cup bread crumbs softened with 3/4 cup water

13/4 teaspoons salt

3/4 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon dried oregano

3/4 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1 tablespoon olive oil


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Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. I mix with my hands and form balls, using about 1/4 cup per meatball.

Heat olive oil in a fry pan on medium low and brown the meatballs on both sides. Do not overcrowd the pan, so fry the meatballs in batches.

Meanwhile, make your red sauce or use jarred sauce, at least 48 to 72 ounces – enough to cover the meatballs. Heat sauce to a simmer in a large sauce pan. Add the browned meatballs and simmer on low for an hour. Be careful to stir the sauce gently, or you will end up with just a meat sauce and no meatballs.

The meatballs can also be formed into small patties and cooked through if you don’t want the sauce. Leftovers can be frozen.

Makes 8 servings.

Meatball sandwich

Meatballs are always great with spaghetti, but I also love a meatball sandwich.

Hollow out the center of a crusty hoagie roll. Place the roll on a rimmed sheet pan, brush the insides with olive oil and broil until toasted.

Take the top halves out of the pan, place meatballs in the bottom half and top with provolone or mozzarella. Put under the broiler again to melt the cheese. Top with more sauce if needed, grated Parmesan or Romano, and optional crushed red pepper or pepperoncini.