My mother always served spaghetti with Bolognese sauce, rather than with meatballs, but Eric asked me to make it this way the other night, and I think I might be a convert! I based the recipe on one from Tyler Florence, with a few adjustments of my own.
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 cup milk
4 thick slices firm white bread, crust removed
1 1/2 pounds ground beef or turkey
1 1/2 pounds ground pork
1 large egg
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups heated tomato sauce (Bolognese without the meat or Vegetarian )
Heat 3 tablespoons oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and herbs and cook until the onionss are soft but still translucent, about 10 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and let cool.
Pour enough milk over the bread in a bowl to moisten and let it soak while the onions are cooling. Combine the meats in a large bowl. Add the egg and Parmigiano and season generously with salt and pepper. Use your hands to squeeze the excess milk out of the bread and add that to the bowl along with the cooled onion mixture. (Hang onto the pan - you'll need it to cook the meatballs.) Gently combine all the ingredients with your hands or with a spoon until just mixed together. Don't overwork or the meatballs will be tough. Shape the mixture into meatballs.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat a 3-count of oil in the frying pan over medium heat and brown the meatballs on all sides, about 10 minutes. Put them into a baking dish and spoon about half of the tomato sauce over. Put the meatballs in the oven and bake until the meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and put it onto a large serving platter. Pour on the rest of the sauce and mix well. Spoon the meatballs on top of the spaghetti and serve immediately along with extra cheese.