Spaghetti and Meatballs, how to make them and who makes them better, are always a highly contested food. Flay might not have won this Throwdown challenge, but his recipe won us over. Simple and delicious, it's great for kids and adults — and adults who want to feel like kids again.

Ingredients

For the meatballs

  • 1 Cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 Cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 1/4 Cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 12 Ounce ground beef chuck
  • 4 Ounce ground veal
  • 4 Ounce ground pork
  • 1/2 Cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • About 6 tablespoons plain dry bread crumbs

For the sauce

  • 2 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Medium Spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 3 Cloves garlic
  • 1/4 Teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 28-ounce cans plum tomatoes and juices, pureed in a blender
  • 1 Small cubanelle (or cubano or banana) chile
  • 8 Sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 Cup chopped fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1 Pound spaghetti, cooked al dente
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation

For the meatballs

Step 1:

Heat the 2 table­spoons oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until soft, about 1½ minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Step 2:

Whisk the eggs, 3 tablespoons cold water, and the parsley together in a large bowl. Add the garlic, beef, veal, pork, cheese, and salt and pepper and gently mix together until combined. Add the bread crumbs, a table­spoon at a time, until the mixture just holds together. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day.

Step 3:

Form the meat mixture into 1½-inch balls. Heat the remaining 1 cup oil in a large sauté pan over high heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the meatballs and fry until golden brown on all sides. Drain on a baking sheet lined with paper towels.

For the sauce

Step 1:

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes, and cook until the onion is soft and the garlic is lightly golden brown on both sides, 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the pureed tomatoes. Make a slit in the side of the cubanelle chile with a paring knife, and add it and the parsley sprigs to the sauce. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 2:

Add the meatballs to the sauce, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer until the meat­balls have cooked through and the sauce is thickened, about 20 minutes.

Step 3:

To serve, put the spaghetti on a platter and top with the meatballs (use a slotted spoon). Stir the chopped basil into the tomato sauce, and ladle some of the sauce over the spaghetti and meatballs. Top with lots of Parmesan and garnish with basil.