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Video 4 Levels of Spaghetti & Meatballs: Amateur to Food Scientist | Epicurious
11:29   |   today at 12:53


  • hi I'm Melina Stella I'm a level 1 chef
  • my name is Lorenzo I'm a level 2 chef my
  • name is Frank I'm level 3 the last time
  • I made spaghetti and meatballs was last
  • Christmas the last time I made spaghetti
  • and meatballs is actually a Thursday
  • because Thursday's my pasta night this
  • is the recipe that we normally make for
  • Sunday dinner I would consider myself an
  • expert first I'm gonna start with the
  • meatballs since they take a little bit
  • longer just place that into the bowl
  • pound of meat beef for meatballs is
  • completely fine but me I like to add a
  • little bit more flavor and why not add
  • pork sausage when I make meatballs I'd
  • like to use three different types of
  • meat beef pork and veal right in front
  • of me I have a grinder set up it'll
  • grind it up it'll mechanically tenderize
  • it let me start with a Spanish I mean
  • I'll saute this at a pan I'm gonna add
  • some garlic if you ever see a little
  • green stuff take that out you will have
  • heartburn and indigestion
  • we are not browning these vegetables or
  • sweating them to get did not go sugar is
  • out and the moisture out of it half a
  • cup of breadcrumbs I'm gonna combine
  • this with panko in Italian bread crumbs
  • quarter cup of milk to keep the
  • meatballs moist sometimes people add
  • milk to this I don't really like milk in
  • my meatballs I'm gonna add four eggs one
  • egg it helps keep everything together
  • and I'm just gonna ninja one egg into
  • the bowl and parmesan grated cheese I
  • use pecorino romano just for the fact
  • that it's really salty and sharp a
  • little bit of basil you must add some
  • salt brings out the flavour of
  • everything if you can fresh grind the
  • pepper it's even better and then what
  • you do now is you're getting there with
  • your hands oh this feels really strange
  • my hands are clean I promise and that's
  • it that's my Mitch
  • now we scoop roll them into 2-inch size
  • balls I think that's a good size boom
  • boom boom karate chop karate chop I
  • always get a little ninja in there
  • bigger than the golf ball-sized so boom
  • kaboom I like to use an ice cream scoop
  • this not only makes things more uniform
  • it's actually much much quicker my sauce
  • comes from a jar alright so I'm gonna
  • get started with my sauce which is
  • basically an easy peasy marinara sauce
  • what we're gonna do is start with the
  • other half note this spinach onion just
  • slice it up again I like garlic and then
  • I'm actually gonna add sweetness to the
  • sauce by using the little carrot because
  • we're using whole peeled Tomatoes
  • there's always this can taste to it so
  • in order to get rid of that you add
  • sugar the secret to my sauce is that
  • everything's in one pot we've browned
  • the meatballs in the pot our oil is
  • flavored with the meatball juices
  • basically canned tomatoes which were
  • using tend to be a little acidic so when
  • you put onions in there or you put basil
  • in there a little bit of orange it makes
  • the sauce a little sweeter don't eat a
  • ton of garlic I put a bay leaf in but
  • with the orange rind and my basil I like
  • to tie it together with some butchers
  • twine in the kitchen we call this a
  • sachet or a bouquet garni and see ya at
  • italiano feel to it some parmesan rind
  • to it I like to use canned peeled
  • crushed Tomatoes no skin I also like to
  • use a little tomato paste tomato paste
  • adds a little texture to your sauce
  • makes your sauce a little thicker so now
  • we add the tomato sauce make sure you
  • cover all of them I also like to add
  • seasoning at this point a little bit of
  • black pepper and salt you got to be
  • careful with the salt because if you put
  • too much now the sauce is gonna cook
  • down its gonna be a little too salty and
  • I'm gonna add basil and oregano that's
  • something that my mom does every time
  • she makes meatballs and she puts it
  • right in the sauce I really like basil
  • so I don't mind having a little bit more
  • the juices from the meatballs will just
  • accentuate the taste of this sauce and
  • the longer you cook it then we're
  • thicker the sauce will be alright
  • meatballs swim this not only flavors
  • your sauce it also helps to keep the
  • meatballs tender and now I'm gonna let
  • this cook for about 40 minutes to 60
  • now we're gonna do the spaghetti my
  • spaghetti is pretty simple
  • I get it straight from the box I have
  • fresh pasta today
  • bucatini pasta why not get it as close
  • to restaurant quality as you can box
  • pastas really great for every day but if
  • you really love people you make fresh
  • pasta today we're gonna make a small
  • batch most people would say it's really
  • difficult but it's not hard at all nice
  • spaghetti once I take them out of the
  • box I crack them in half okay just so
  • that they fit in the pan a little bit
  • easier here we go one neste pasta two
  • Nesta pasta and you immediately stir
  • pasta in the water or else clump them
  • and now that it's boiling we're gonna
  • put the pasta in I add salt and olive
  • oil just cuz that's what I've been told
  • to do I don't exactly know what it does
  • but I'm gonna say it adds flavor you
  • never add oil to your boiling pasta
  • somebody had said that somewhere and
  • people believe that it's wrong the sauce
  • will just slip and slide away it's
  • important to salt your water not only to
  • season the pasta but the salt actually
  • brings the temperature of the water up
  • quicker a dry pasta would take about 10
  • minutes to cook but a fresh pasta only
  • takes two to three minutes and that's it
  • that's our spaghetti looks good
  • [Music]
  • I think this looks pretty good I can see
  • the Browning on this meatball and I'm
  • really excited about that the cheese
  • looks awesome this is spaghetti
  • meatballs my way beautiful homemade
  • pasta nice torn basil leaves gives a
  • little sweetness delicious I'm going for
  • it mm-hmm just a little delicioso Wow
  • spaghetti and meatballs is a delicious
  • and traditional dish that shows how
  • starches and proteins come together in
  • pasta and meatballs as well as sauce
  • let's cover the pasta first box pastas
  • are really delicious and they work
  • really well for certain applications
  • there we go typically they don't have
  • egg added to them they're just based on
  • a wheat based flour and water and so you
  • get this nice dried pasta that has a
  • real toothy quality to it it has an al
  • dente quality so you get a bite to that
  • pasta yeah they're perfect you won't get
  • that with fresh supple pastas that you
  • either buy fresh in the store or pastas
  • that you make yourself by the addition
  • of eggs to a wheat based flour when you
  • add your pasta to boiling salted water
  • just like Frank said your water should
  • be C salty some chefs recommend that
  • your water be just about as a line as
  • the ocean you want to add your salt to
  • the already boiling water otherwise it
  • just takes too much time to heat the
  • water up also as Lorenzo said we don't
  • want to add olive oil to the pasta water
  • Lwin up mostly because once you take the
  • pasta and finish it in the sauce the oil
  • is going to prevent it from adhering to
  • the sauce very well
  • the sauce will just slip and slide away
  • when you're making meatballs typically
  • you're gonna be adding some sort of a
  • starch like a bread or bread crumbs
  • you're also gonna add eggs bread crumbs
  • are gonna act as a nice tenderizer
  • they're gonna give us soft quality to
  • your meatball and the eggs are gonna act
  • as an emulsifier it's gonna hold
  • together the bread and the meat and all
  • of the other components into one
  • delicious kind of emulsified meatball
  • egg yolks contains something called
  • phospholipids phospholipids have one
  • part of the molecule that loves water so
  • it's hydrophilic and one part that is
  • hydrophobic it doesn't like water so
  • your phospholipids act as a bridge
  • between the water soluble
  • and the water insoluble parts so you
  • have really nice structure in your
  • meatballs it's fantastic you enhance the
  • flavor greatly by browning your
  • meatballs first that comes about because
  • of something called a meillard reaction
  • you also got a really nice sensory
  • experience because the Browning imparts
  • a lot of flavor but it also looks much
  • nicer if you don't brown your meatballs
  • first they're not going to go through
  • that Mayo reaction because you have too
  • much water present which inhibits
  • meillard browning so you're gonna get a
  • gray looking meatball that's not very
  • appealing from a sensory perspective Oh
  • a nice meatball hoagie oh please help me
  • alena used jar sauce my sauce comes from
  • a jar you might find ingredients in
  • these sauces that you don't want to have
  • in your pasta dish things like high
  • fructose corn syrup occasionally some
  • sort of added starches and these things
  • help to thicken and give sweetness to
  • the sauce but it's not a real authentic
  • tomato tasting sauce so make it look
  • nice when you're making your own
  • homemade tomato sauce you want to layer
  • flavors as Frank did he started with
  • garlic and onions in oil that's really
  • important because many of the flavoring
  • compounds are dissolved in the oil so
  • you start off with a really nice
  • baseline of flavor and then you add the
  • tomatoes to it when you are using fresh
  • tomatoes they are whole peeled tomatoes
  • the temperature at which you cook your
  • sauce can make a real difference if you
  • use a slow moderate heat there are some
  • compounds in the tomato called
  • hemicellulose and pectin that give the
  • tomato its soft juicy flavor but also
  • some structure to the tomato if you used
  • a canned tomato typically they are
  • autoclaved at a very high temperature
  • and the enzymes that promote this fresh
  • quality to your sauce are deactivated
  • just because of the high heat to remedy
  • that canned type of taste you might want
  • to balance out the sweetness but you
  • don't need to add sucrose you don't need
  • to add white sugar to your sauce you can
  • add some natural sweetness in the form
  • of say a carrot like Lorenzo did Frank
  • on the other hand used an orange and
  • this adds some complex flavors and it
  • adds a really nice sweet quality to the
  • tomatoes that Frank used I think it
  • gives a really nice background flavor
  • when you're choosing a cheese to use
  • with your spaghetti and meatballs you
  • have a lot of options
  • traditionally parmesan is use Parmesan
  • cheese is one of my favorite cheese's
  • this is a really nice complex but
  • slightly mild and nutty kind of flavor
  • that goes with your spaghetti and
  • meatballs in Frank's case he used a
  • pecorino romano which is also delicious
  • from a different region in Italy but
  • it's got more of a peppery bite to it
  • it's a lot of flavor in a smaller amount
  • parmesan you need a lot more to get that
  • really nice cheese flavor so you might
  • want to use a pecorino romano with a
  • sweeter type of tomato sauce than with a
  • more mild type of tomato sauce in which
  • case you might want to use the parmesan
  • spaghetti and meatballs may seem like a
  • really standard dish but there's a lot
  • of changes you can make whether it be
  • the type of pasta you choose from
  • commercial pasta to homemade pasta
  • jarred sauce or homemade sauce as well
  • as grinding your own meat to make
  • meatballs always be aware of the
  • ingredients you use where they come from
  • and keep in mind the delicious result
  • that you're searching for
  • [Music]
  • [Laughter]

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We challenged chefs of three different levels - an amateur, a home cook and a professional chef - to make their versions of spaghetti & meatballs. And then we brought in a food scientist to review their work. Which one was the best?

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