Spaghetti is Italian and meatballs are Italian but in my mind there is nothing more American than spaghetti and meatballs. Its a perfect combination of the tangy sauce, creamy cheese and taste bombs in the form of meatballs. You can make it with the thicker spaghetti - spaghettoni, but I like the medium thickness spaghetti as it cooks to the prefect thickness when done. Thinner pastas - spaghettini, capellini will not be able to take the thick sauce and the meatballs.
The best way to measure how much spaghetti to cook is to have a pasta measure but you can make do by cooking spaghetti the size of a US quarter, about an inch or so for 1 person if making it for main course without any side dishes. If you are serving it with garlic bread about 3/4 inch round should be sufficient. It also converts into about 3 oz per person. Portion below is for 4 servings.
3 inches raw spaghetti
3 cups marinara
12 - 16 meatless meatballs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
First make the meatballs. Then make the marinara. When the marinara is almost done add the meatballs to it and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Then remove the meatballs and keep aside. Make some extra meatballs for snacking and tasting.
Boil a huge pot of water. When it reaches a boil add salt to it, enough to make it salty like salt water. Then add the pasta. If all the spaghetti does not fit into the water that is fine. As it cooks it will slip into the pot. Dont break the pasta to cook it. To check al dente, take a bit of a strand, if its without any raw crunch in the center its done. Remove, spool on a plate, add some of the sauce with the meatball on top. Sprinkle Parmesan and serve hot! Or you can add the spaghetti to the sauce and mix well. Serve a spool of the pasta and top with meatballs and then some grated Parmesan. Serve some garlic bread on the side. Pair it with your favorite wine and make it an evening...
* I hate throwing out a huge potful of hot water after making pasta as its wasteful of water and energy. I try to plan two pasta dishes close to each other so that I can make the second pasta in the same water. Just cool the pasta by washing it in cold water, add a little olive oil and refrigerate the second batch. It stays for 3-4 days in the fridge. Water becomes too starchy after the second batch so no third round. Also too much pasta in one week!