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Rach made this dish a few weeks ago, and John liked it so much, she's making it again for him for Valentine's Day. Enough said! 

For more recipes from our Valentine's Day celebration, check out John's Sidecar Royale Cocktail10-Minute Tiramisu from Rach's sister, Maria, and Cheesy Pepperoni Heart Twists.


For the Meatballs:
  • 2 cups homemade stale rustic-style white breadcrumbs
  • Milk, to moisten bread (about ¾ cup)
  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef, 85%
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup flat-leaf parsley (a generous handful), finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated
  • 6 ounces 'nduja
  • ½ cup EACH grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and pecorino cheeses
  • 3 tablespoons EVOO
For the Sauce and to Serve:
  • 3 tablespoons EVOO
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • Salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated or chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground or flakes pepperoncini/red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup Italian red wine
  • 2 cups beef stock or bone broth
  • 1 jar (3 cups) passata
  • One 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
  • A handful of basil, torn
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Serves: 4


Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. 

For the meatballs, combine all ingredients, roll meatballs about 2 ½ inches wide and bake on sheet pan until lightly browned, about 18 minutes. 

For the sauce, heat EVOO, 3 turns of the pan, over medium heat in a large, deep nonstick pan or Dutch oven.  Add onions and sweat them with salt, add garlic, oregano and red pepper, then stir in tomato paste for 1 minute. Add red wine and reduce by half. Add stock, passata and tomatoes and break them up. Add basil and bring to a bubble, then add lightly roasted meatballs and simmer 20 minutes. 

Rachael Ray Oval Pasta Pot

Rachael Ray Oval Pasta Pot


Season water with salt and cook pasta a minute less than package directions. Reserve ½ cup of the starchy water just before draining pasta.   

Remove the meatballs to serving bowl and top with about 1/3 of the sauce. 

Toss pasta with butter, cheese and sauce and transfer to a second serving bowl.