There's nothing like old-fashioned hearty spaghetti and meatballs, especially when the dish is so delicious that it beat star chef Bobby Flay's version in a cooking competition. Lucky for TODAY Food, Mike Maroni, owner and chef of Maroni Hot Pots in New York City and Long Island, NY, is a magnanimous winner and shares his family's amazing 100-year-old recipe.
Tip: Maroni's trick for making uniform meatballs is to scoop a golf ball-sized amount of the meat mixture using a 2-ounce ice cream scoop and then roll them with his hands.
For the Meatballs:
Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients. If the mixture seems a little loose, add more bread crumbs.
Loosely roll each meatball into about the size of a golf ball and place on the baking sheet. Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes.
For the Tomato Sauce:
In a large pot, add the olive oil and garlic and cooker over medium-high heat until the garlic lightly browns.
Add the onions and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. You can also add the optional sugar at this time if you like a sweeter sauce. Simmer for 15 to 25 minutes.
For the Spaghetti:
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the spaghetti for 3 minutes less than what is directed on its package.
Once the spaghetti, tomato sauce and meatballs are plated, top each dish with the Parmesan cheese before serving.