There are so many ways you can add your own spin to classic spaghetti and meatballs. And Jennifer Garner, who hosts her Pretend Cooking Show over on her Instagram, has actually put her own spin on Ina Garten’s spin, and the result is a picky eater-approved meatball recipe that both you and your kids will love.
“While we patiently wait for @inagarten’s newest cookbook (out in October! Go-To Dinners!) I am revisiting old favorites,” Garner captioned her September 15 Instagram post. “This was super adapted for my picky little ones years ago — for the grown-up, delicious, depth of flavor, actual recipe please see Barefoot Contessa: Family Style.”
To give Garner credit where credit is due, her recipe doesn’t vary that much from Garten’s. Rather than using a mixture of ground veal, beef, and pork, Garner opted for ground beef, turkey, and pork sausage filling. She also nixed Garten’s breadcrumbs and subbed Italian seasoning in for ground nutmeg for flavor.
Garner’s sauce recipe is nearly identical to Garten’s, except Garner uses a splash of balsamic vinegar to add a kick to the flavor. And because kids are kids, you won’t see parsley anywhere near Garner’s sauce recipe.
And she also has a fun tip for those who like onion flavor but don’t want to bite into a big chunk of onion in their sauce: grate the onion instead of chopping! This is a great alternative for those who haven’t yet mastered the mince.
Finally, Garner whipped up a batch of fresh pasta to go along with her meatballs and sauce using the pasta attachment on her KitchenAid stand mixer (which Garner notes that she has been known to travel with in the past). And just like that, Garner has homemade spaghetti and meatballs at the ready to serve her picky kids!
You can grab Garten’s full “grown-up” recipe here or follow along with Garner by using the directions in her Instagram caption. Whichever recipe you choose, prepare to have your new favorite comfort food.
Before you go, check out our slideshow below: