Is there anything better than a plate of spaghetti and meatballs? Why, yes! Our rendition is a sophisticated riff on the classic with tons more flavor infused into every bite. (Sorry, grandma.) Tuscan-spiced meatballs join tender bites of zucchini and al dente spaghetti in a rich, homemade tomato sauce for a deliciously autentico experience. Thought we forgot about the most important part? Never! The dish is finished with a big sprinkling of Parm. Just say when!
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Tuscan Heat Spice
Adjust rack to top position and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Wash and dry all produce. Halve and peel onion; finely chop one half (save the other half for another use). Mince or grate garlic. Trim and quarter zucchini lengthwise; thinly slice crosswise.
In a medium bowl, combine panko, ½ tsp Tuscan Heat Spice, and ¼ cup water. (For 4 servings, use 1 tsp Tuscan Heat Spice and ½ cup water.) Let sit until water has mostly absorbed, 2-3 minutes, then add beef, half the Parmesan, ½ tsp garlic (¾ tsp for 4), salt (we used ½ tsp; 1 tsp for 4) and pepper. Gently combine, then form into 10-12 meatballs (20-24 for 4).
Lightly coat a baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil. Place meatballs on prepared sheet. Bake on top rack until browned, 12-15 minutes (they’ll finish cooking in step 5).
Meanwhile, heat a large drizzle of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until softened, 4-6 minutes. Add zucchini and remaining garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until zucchini is tender and lightly browned, 3-4 minutes.
Once water is boiling, add spaghetti to pot. Cook until al dente, 9-11 minutes, then drain and set aside. To pan with veggies, add marinara sauce, ¼ cup water, remaining Tuscan Heat Spice, ½ tsp sugar (1 tsp for 4 servings), salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Cook until slightly thickened, 8-10 minutes. Stir in meatballs. Cook until sauce is very thick and meatballs are cooked through, 2-3 minutes more.
Return spaghetti to empty pot. Carefully pour in sauce, including meatballs, and 2 TBSP butter; toss to coat. If sauce seems dry, add a splash or two of water. Season with salt and pepper. Divide between plates and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.