My grandmother had her hands full raising six kids in the 1950s and ’60s, so a lot of her cooking was very simple. (Though her spaghetti sauce recipe is a family favorite.) Dad also remembers her making these meatballs, studded with rice and served with a simple tomato sauce.
Guy did some solo parenting while I was on a recent business trip, and he had zero problems getting dinner on the table. For this dish, he made four mini meat loaves seasoned with barbecue sauce and surrounded by broccoli, halved cherry tomatoes, sliced mushrooms, and green beans.
This combination of my grandmother’s recipe for spaghetti sauce and my mother’s meatball recipe is a family treasure and a Christmas Eve tradition – whether we’re together or apart, we always have spaghetti and meatballs.
The sauce, which simmers in the slow cooker all day, starts with garlic warmed in olive oil and includes a distinctive scent of celery seed. Bread, eggs, and Parmesan cheese make the meatballs tender. Brown them and add them to the sauce in the last 30 minutes.