On Top of Spaghetti
On top of Spaghetti All covered with cheese I lost my poor meatball When somebody sneezed
It rolled off the table And onto the floor And then my poor meatball Rolled out of the door
It rolled in the garden And under a bush And then my poor meatball Was nothing but mush
The mush was as tasty As tasty could be, And then the next summer, It grew into a tree.
The tree was all covered, All covered with moss, And on it grew meatballs, And tomato sauce.
So if you eat spaghetti, All covered with cheese, Hold on to your meatball, Whenever you sneeze.
Oh for the love of childhood ditties. I am completely bemused by the fact that these little jingles are revisiting my brain via all this food writing. Seriously, I cannot recall the last time this meatball song whizzed unannounced through my brain. More recently, I have been the audience-in-residence to my children singing the theme song for the upcoming movie Ratatouille. Now there is one movie I will need to see, if not just to laud the "food, glorious food" song.
My sister-in-law has a son whose friend's father is an Italian chef living in Canada (I couldn't resist: did you follow?). Upon numerous inquisitions as to what he cooks for dinner, and please give me ideas and recipes and gush, gush, gush, the fine Italian gentleman gave in and worked meatball magic in his kitchen (much to the delight of my sister-in-law and a few other moms). He made spaghetti and meatballs---turkey meatballs to be exact.
So as quickly as possible I embarked on a mission to obtain this recipe and try it and then hold-my-breath serve it to my own Italian husband. Granted, the recipe I finally obtained was shortened short-hand (and to serve 20), which I shortened even further (and only to serve 4-6). So is it exactly the same as it was in his kitchen? Perhaps close... plus the wine I drank tossed into the sauce.
All said and done: I loved it, my opera-esque children loved it, and it happily passed the Italian test---my husband was impressed (insert more top-volume singing). So folks now you and I, and our families have a fine yet simple and very nearly authentic spaghetti and meatball recipe. No sneezing, no yawning, but occasional guffaws are welcome.
Turkey Meatballs 1 LB. ground turkey 1/4 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley (cut into chiffonade using scissors) 1 small leek 3 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 cup Parmesan 1 egg KS&CP (kosher salt & coarse pepper) 1-2 cups bread crumbs
Red Sauce 1/2 red onion, minced 3 cloves garlic, minced 2 28 0z cans plum or Italian tomatoes bay leaf, basil, rosemary (or oregano, dried Italian herbs, etc.) optional: 1/4 cup red wine
Make meatballs: Sautee garlic and leek in some olive oil, then combine with [uncooked] ground turkey, parsley, Parmesan, egg, KS&CP and bread crumbs. (Use enough bread crumbs for the meatballs to come together and easily maintain their form; I use coarse bread crumbs). Brown meatballs [in olive oil] in skillet, about 5-6 minutes per batch. Set aside and make red sauce: sautee onion and garlic in 1-2 T olive oil, add and smoosh tomatoes (I just used the bottom of the tomato cans to smoosh them right in the pan---I love that word "smoosh"). Add seasonings (and wine if adding) bring to boil, then lower to simmer and toss in the meatballs. Cook 2-3 hours on low simmer. (Serve with spaghetti noodles).