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Throwdown Meatballs

Serves: 4

Meatballs
2 tablespoons, plus 1 cup pure olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons ice water
¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
¾ pound ground chuck
¼ pound ground veal
¼ pound ground pork
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup dried bread crumbs (made from fresh white bread)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until soft, about 1 ½ minutes. 
2. Whisk together the eggs, water and parsley in a large bowl, add the garlic, meats and cheese and gently mix together until combined. Begin adding bread crumbs a tablespoon at a time until the mixture just holds together. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Form the meat into 1 ½-inch balls.
3. Heat the remaining 1 cup of oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the meatballs and fry until golden brown on all sides. Carefully remove to a baking sheet lined with paper towels. 

Tomato Sauce
2 tablespoons pure olive oil
1 medium Spanish onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic
¼ teaspoon red chile flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Two 28-ounce cans plum tomatoes and their juice, pureed in blender
1 small Cubano pepper
8 sprigs fresh flat leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb # 8 or #9 spaghetti, cooked al dente
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano
Fresh basil sprigs, for garnish

1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and chile flakes and cook until the onion is soft and the garlic is lightly golden brown on both sides. Add the tomato paste and cook for 30 seconds. 
2. Stir in the pureed tomatoes, Cubano pepper and parsley sprigs, bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the meatballs, reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking until the meatballs have cooked through and the sauce has thickened, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Place the spaghetti on a platter, top with the meatballs (using a slotted spoon). Stir the chopped basil into the tomato sauce and ladle some of the sauce over the spaghetti and meatballs. Grate lots of parmesan cheese over the top and garnish with fresh basil sprigs. 


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