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Special Spaghetti and Meatballs

4 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 med onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
4 slices Italian bread, crusts discarded, cut into small dice
1/4 cup whole milk
2 pounds lean ground veal
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 cups My Favorite Tomato Sauce
1 pound dry spaghetti or several Italian hoagies
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
Freshly ground Parmesan cheese, for garnish

1. In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until soft, about five minutes, taking care not to turn onions brown. Remove mixture to a small bowl and set aside to cool.
2. In large mixing bowl, combine the bread and milk. Set aside for about 10 minutes, until all the milk is completely absorbed.
3. Add to the mixing bowl and the sautéed onion and garlic, ground veal, egg, Parmesan, parsley, basil, thyme, salt, sugar, and black pepper.
4. Wetting your hands with cold water, roll about one-eighth of the veal mixture into a large, even meatball and place it on a large plate or baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining mixture, making 8 meatballs in all.
5. In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the tomato sauce until it is very gently simmering. One at a time, carefully lower the meatballs into the simmering sauce. Reduce the heat and simmer very gently, covered, until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce has thickened, about 45 minutes.
6. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente, tender but still chewy, following the manufacturer's suggested cooking time.
7. With a slotted spoon, remove the meatballs from the sauce and transfer them to a plate. Remove 1 1/2 cups of sauce from the pan and keep it warm. Drain the spaghetti and instantly stir into the tomato sauce in the saucepan. Toss to coat the spaghetti thoroughly. Twirl or mound the spaghetti into each of 8 warmed serving bowls or plates. Top with the meatballs and drizzle with the reserved sauce. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese, if desired.

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