Spaghetti and Meatballs

Free time doesn’t come easily to me. I’m in my final year of university, so any time not spent in class is devoted to essay writing, textbook reading and freelance work on the side to earn some extra cash. I don’t handle stress very well, either, which adds a completely new element to the fray.

Cooking is my release. When I cook, the thesis statements, cancelled interviews and sociology chapters fade from my conscious, and it’s just me and my food. There’s something therapeutic about doing something with your hands; the sense of satisfaction in manually creating something out of nothing.

This meal is ideal for those stressful days in life. While tearing the ground beef apart with my fingers and squishing it into little round balls, I finally allowed my mind to drift from all the negatives. My thoughts, which just minutes before were whizzing around chaotically, settled. Perhaps it’s the mindless, repetitive motion, or the hum of the onions simmering in the pan next to me, but in that moment, everything is okay.

Tools

large metal bowl
fork
cookie sheet
large saucepan
large knife
cutting board
medium saucepan
wooden spoon
measuring cups
measuring spoons

Ingredients

Meatballs
1 lb lean ground beef
1 egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Spaghetti sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
28 ounce bottle of plain spaghetti sauce
1/2 teaspoon basil
one stalk of fresh oregano, or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Crumble a slice of bread between your fingers to make crumbs. In medium bowl, combine thawed beef, bread crumbs, onion, egg, salt and pepper with fork. With your hands, roll beef into one inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, turning them over after seven to eight minutes.

Heat vegetable oil in large saucepan or frying pan over medium heat. Add onion. Crush garlic cloves with flat side of a large kitchen knife and add to pan.  Cook for two minutes, then pour in spaghetti sauce. If using fresh oregano, wash and chop finely, then add with basil to pan. Bring to a simmer.

Add cooked meatballs to sauce mixture and simmer, stirring frequently, for 20 minutes. Prepare spaghetti in medium saucepan according to package directions.

Serve sauce over hot spaghetti and top with parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!

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