Ella’s Island: Meatballs and Spaghetti


Meatballs are from Italy and spaghetti is from Italy but Meatballs and Spaghetti? An American invention. I re-invented it further into a canape. With the tomato sauce recipe from ad hoc’s lasagna as a loose guide.


  • Meatballs
    • 1 lb ground beef
    • 1 lb ground pork
    • 4 eggs
    • 2 cups breadcrumbs
    • salt, pepper, garlic powder
  • Sauce
    • 2 cups chopped onions
    • 1 can tomato paste
    • 1 12 or 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
    • 8 oz plain tomato sauce
    • 1 quart grape/cherry tomatoes
    • 2 TB minced garlic
    • salt and pepper
    • fresh oregano
  • Angel hair or thin spaghetti
  • Oil for frying


  • Ahead: Boil spaghetti al dente. Almost drain it, reserving about 1/2 cup pasta water with the pasta, and allowing the pasta to cool completely in a bowl it just fits in (to encourage clumping)
  • Ahead: Make tomato sauce:
    • Sweat the onions in olive oil and salt
    • Add pepper and tomato paste and stir over medium heat for a few minutes, allowing the paste to brown slightly
    • Add garlic, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and stir for another 5 minutes
    • Add fresh cherry tomatoes, stir, bring to a boil, then down to a simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Mix meat ingredients together with fingers. Season to taste but approximately 2 tsp @
  • Form tiny balls, cook in the oven for 10 minutes at 350
  • Toss the balls in tomato sauce and remove with a slotted spoon
  • Turn the pasta out of the bowl, and using a large, sharp knife, slice the ball, collecting all naturally occurring clumps and cutting them into 1″ segments
  • Shallow-fry the pasta clumps
    • If you don’t have enough clumps, use an egg and some parmesan to hold some extra pasta strands together into little pancakes instead
  • Each canape should consist one of little pasta clump, topped with a barely-sauced meatball and a single leaf of fresh oregano
  • We served some as depicted and some out of Chinese soup spoons for easier access



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