Everyday Meatballs

I really enjoy meatballs. One of my favorite restaurants is The Meatball Shop because they serve you all sorts of meatballs over delicious things like polenta or vegetables. While I like them over spaghetti, I think having a saucy plate of meatballs and some delicious bread to dip in the sauce is actually my favorite way to eat them.

In the past, I’ve made some great baked meatballs that don’t require any pan frying, just mixing up ingredients and then baking them in the oven. Apparently, traditional meatballs involve pre-frying then finishing off in sauce, which sounds like an awful lot of work. These guys, on the other hand, are cooked in their sauce–a much less fussy way to go.

I think you could definitely cook up some pasta and eat it as a big old plate of spaghetti and meatballs. My personal favorite thing to do is cover the top with cheese, get a ton of bread and go crazy. I love grilling some bread in olive oil and then rubbing a garlic clove over it. So delicious! And while I can eat these anytime, I definitely think this is a perfect cozy cold weather meal.

Everyday Meatballs
from smitten kitchen

Yield: 22 to 24 small meatballs

For the Meatballs:
1 pound ground meat {I used all beef}
2/3 cup fresh bread crumbs or 1/2 cup panko
1/3 cup milk or water
2 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (optional)
2 teaspoons coarse or kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 large eggs
1 garlic clove, minced

For the Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
Pinches of red pepper flakes or few grinds of black pepper
1 28-ounce can of tomato puree or crushed tomatoes

Place all of the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl. Using your hands or a fork, mix it all together until it’s well mixed. The fork is good because it breaks up the eggs as well as the meat. Form the meatballs into 1.5 to 2 inch balls and place on a plate. The mixture is pretty soft, so it’s best if you can refrigerate them for 30 minutes if possible. If not, just keep them in the fridge while you start the sauce.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the garlic clove as well as the red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Then add the canned tomatoes {watch out for the splatter!}. Let the mixture simmer for 10 minutes if using puree or 20 minutes if using the crushed tomatoes, stirring occasionally.

Turn the heat down to the lowest setting to maintain a simmer. Add the meatballs gently one by one, cover and let them be for 25 minutes. Try not to disturb them as they will then lose their shape. They should be done at 25 minutes, but you can cut one in half to double check. Eat with pasta, bread, more cheese or whatever your heart desires!

 

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