Olaf Shinzo writes from North Bay

By Graziano Marchese | November 7, 2001

Dear Graz,

How do you make Spaghetti and Meatballs that doesn’t taste like it came out of a can.

Yrs, Olaf Shinzo, North Bay

Dear Olaf,

At the restaurant, we prepare a recipe I learned from my mother. Here it is, for about 4 hearty appetites:

1.) Tomato Sauce: Using a 10 inch saucepan, gently saute as much garlic as you can handle very gently in a generous amount of Extra Virgin olive oil until the garlic flavour is infused in it. Remember that it is the olive oil that is the most powerful ingredient in your sauce after the tomatoes, and don’t use Canola or other inferior oils. If you like a little bite in your sauce, seed and chop a small Jalepeno pepper and saute that with the garlic. Remove the garlic and discard before it gets beyond a golden colour. If you have your own tomato sauce, add about a litre of it. If you don’t have your own, try to find an imported tomato puree from the San Marzano region of Italy. Failing that, don’t use tomato sauce that comes in a can, particularly not if it’s produced in North America. Commercial tomato sauce on this side of the ocean is made from d-grade tomatoes, wood chips, plutonium waste and other horrible things. If you can’t find an imported tomato puree buy the local stuff in a glass jar. That way you can spot any rusted car parts that weren’t strained out.

2.) Meatballs. Meatballs aren’t just made from meat. The best ones are about 40 percent (by volume) ground veal, 40 percent breadcrumbs and 20 percent Parmesan cheese. Don’t use cheap cheese. If you can’t afford Reggiano, settle for the Padano. Mix about 1½ cups each of veal and breadcrumbs with ¾ cup of grated Parmesan, add two eggs to hold the meat balls together, and a handful of chopped parsley. Form your meatballs about two inches in diameter, and put them gently into the tomato sauce. Cook at a very low heat for roughly an hour. Add a spring of basil five minutes before the hour is up, and remove it before serving.


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