Neapolitan-style “spaghetti and meatballs”

You’ll hear a lot of people say that Spaghetti and Meatballs is a purely American phenomenon; that Italians don’t eat spaghetti and meatballs together.

In fact, spaghetti and meatballs couldn’t be more Neapolitan.

Where owner and executive chef Joe Buonincontri grew up in Brooklyn, they still make their sauce (the “gravy” as it used to be called in Italian-American parlance) they way they do in Naples in the Old Country.

Meatballs, sausage, and often other cuts of meat are braised all day long in tomato sauce. The meats impart their savory flavor to the sauce while the tomatoes give sweetness and natural acidity to the meats.

The only difference between the way we serve the dish in the U.S. and Italy is that the Neapolitans reserve the meats and eat them as a second course. Here in America, we serve it all together: long noodles, tomato sauce, and meatballs.

At Luce, we like to use Tuscan-style pappardelle for the pasta: the long, broad noodles are ideal for binding with the rich, flavorful sauce.


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