Checkered Tablecloth Spaghetti and Meatballs
A composite of what I’ve learned about spaghetti and meatballs from the various Italian grandmothers in my life, this is everything that the classic dish should be—the perfect example of abbondanza, which means glorious excess. This makes a large amount, but even if you don’t have a big family, make the entire amount to have leftovers for another meal.
In the old days, the meatballs would be fried in oil, but most cooks I know prefer to bake them to keep the stovetop clean of splatters. If you go this route, invest in a splatter screen, and your stove will remain relatively unsoiled. To do it the old-fashioned way, heat 1/4 cup of standard (it doesn’t have to be extra-virgin) olive oil in a large skillet (preferably nonstick) over medium heat. In batches without crowding, add the meatballs and cover the pan with the splatter screen. Cook, turning the meatballs occasionally, until lightly browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Don’t rush this step, or the browned bits in the pan will burn and you will have to toss out the oil.