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On top of spaghetti ....

You won't find good old spaghetti with meatballs in many trendy Italian restaurants these days, so why not make the perennial favorite at home and remind yourself just how good and comforting this basic staple still is?

Meatballs and Spaghetti

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Homemade pasta sauces can be elaborate and time consuming, often requiring precious time to saute and simmer. With so many acceptable and even fine prepared sauces on the market, why not take advantage of them and spend a little time on making homemade meat balls? You can personalize the meatball recipe by changing the amounts of garlic and seasoning. And, who's to say you can't adjust the seasonings of prepared pasta sauces as well?

Homemade Meatballs:

1 pound lean ground beef

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped

1/3 cup dried bread crumbs (store-bought "Italian" breadcrumbs are fine, but not necessary.)

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, or combine equal parts oregano, thyme, marjoram, and basil

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1 egg

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Sauce and spaghetti:

2 26-ounce jars of quality pasta sauce

1-pound package of spaghetti

Grated Parmesan cheese

Chopped Italian parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine all meatball ingredients in a large bowl; mix thoroughly. Roll meat mixture into about 20, 1-1/2-inch diameter meatballs and place them in a single layer in a lightly olive oil-greased shallow baking pan or on a cookie sheet that has a lip.

Bake 15 minutes, shaking the meatballs once or twice to brown them on all sides.

While meatballs are browning, heat spaghetti sauce in a large pan.

Add meatballs to sauce and simmer about 5 minutes.

Cook spaghetti in boiling, salted water according to instructions on package. Be sure not to overcook.

Serve sauce and meatballs over spaghetti with plenty of grated Parmesan cheese; top with chopped parsley.

Serves 4.

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