"I don't remember having spaghetti and meatballs as a child at home; we had polpette, which had the shape of crab cakes. Spaghetti and meatballs, on the other hand, is a big Italian American dish, a cuisine born out of the early Italian immigrants adapting to the New World." -Lidia Matticchio Bastianich
Cooking Light OCTOBER 2003
To prepare sauce, place half of the tomatoes in a food processor, and process until smooth. Pour pureed tomatoes into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining tomatoes.
Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion; cook 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in pureed tomatoes, red pepper, salt, black pepper, and bay leaves; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Discard bay leaves. Keep warm.
To prepare meatballs, preheat oven to 400°. Place bread in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure 1/2 cup. Combine breadcrumbs, 1/3 cup cheese, and the next 7 ingredients (cheese through egg white). Shape mixture into 24 (1-inch) meatballs, and place on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until done. Add meatballs to sauce; cook over low heat 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
Cook the pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain pasta; return to pot. Spoon about 2 cups tomato sauce (leaving meatballs in pan) into pasta, and toss well to coat. Transfer pasta mixture to a platter; top with remaining sauce and meatballs. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese.
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