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The meatballs and sauce are cooked in the slow cooker for this traditional Italian spaghetti and meatballs recipe. You could also serve the meatballs over creamy polenta or on a sandwich with melted provolone.

Source: EatingWell Magazine, March/April 2012

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Recipe Summary

total:
4 hrs
Servings:
8
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Ingredients

Meatballs
Sauce & Spaghetti

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • To prepare meatballs: Lightly beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir in breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup onion, cheese, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. Add beef, pork (or sausage) and veal; gently mix until combined (do not overmix). Using 1/4 cup for each, make 16 meatballs and place in a 6-quart slow cooker.

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  • To prepare sauce & spaghetti: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 cup onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper; cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add wine and boil for 1 minute. Add crushed and diced tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Pour the sauce over the meatballs.

  • Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on High for 4 hours or Low for 8 hours.

  • 30 minutes before you're ready to eat, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the spaghetti until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions.

  • Spoon any fat off the sauce; add oregano. Serve the meatballs and sauce over the spaghetti with extra Parmesan, if desired.

Tips

Make Ahead Tip: To prep ahead: Make meatballs and sauce (Steps 1 & 2); cover and refrigerate separately for up to 1 day. Reheat sauce to a simmer before adding to slow cooker. To make ahead: Freeze cooked meatballs in sauce airtight for up to 3 months. Defrost before reh

Equipment: 6-quart slow cooker

Tip: To make your own fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. To make fine breadcrumbs, process until very fine. To make dry breadcrumbs, spread coarse or fine breadcrumbs on a baking sheet and bake at 250°F until dry, about 10 to 15 minutes. One slice of bread makes about 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs or about 1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs. For store-bought coarse dry breadcrumbs we like Ian's brand, labeled “Panko breadcrumbs.” Find them at well-stocked supermarkets.

Stovetop Variation: Make the sauce (Step 2) in a large Dutch oven instead of a skillet, then gently add the meatballs to the simmering sauce. Cover and gently simmer until the meatballs are cooked through, about 1 hour.

For easy cleanup, try a slow-cooker liner. These heat-resistant, disposable liners fit neatly inside the insert and help prevent food from sticking to the bottom and sides of your slow cooker.

Nutrition Facts

1 cup pasta, 3/4 cup sauce & 2 meatballs
447 calories; protein 25.5g; carbohydrates 61.3g; dietary fiber 10.7g; sugars 9.4g; fat 10.8g; saturated fat 3.7g; cholesterol 81.1mg; vitamin a iu 687.2IU; vitamin c 21.1mg; folate 61.2mcg; calcium 148.4mg; iron 4.7mg; magnesium 125.3mg; potassium 765.5mg; sodium 765.4mg; thiamin 0.4mg.

3 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 3 lean meat

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