My boyfriend Diego loves meatballs and I didn’t get what the fuss was about until he took me to The Meatball Shop for lunch while we were in New York. Located in 84 Stanton Street, the fun begins by choosing the kind of meatball, sauce, starch and side that you want. My meal came out looking like this. Yum!
I don’t know why I was so indifferent towards these delicious morsels of meat.
While online a couple of days ago, I found an easy meatball recipe with very promising comments. Naturally, I had to try making them. I’ve modified the recipe a little bit based on said promising comments. I decided on spicy classic tomato for sauce and I’m including that recipe as well. I wanted the flavors of my sauce to be developing while I made my meatballs so I made it first and left it to simmer.
For the sauce, you’ll need:
2 cans 10.75 oz. tomato puree
2 cans 14.5 oz. whole plum tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 t Italian seasoning
1 t salt
1/4 t fresh ground black pepper
1/4 t cloves
2 T sugar
1 t chili flakes (optional)
3 T EVOO
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1. Empty the whole plum tomatoes into a large bowl and squash them with your hands. Careful. The buggers squirt.
2. Dice the onions. Heat EVOO in a large pan. Sauté onions and garlic.
3. Add all remaining ingredients and give it a good stir. Let simmer.
While the ingredients of the sauce are getting to know each other, we can get started on the meatballs. You’ll need:
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. Italian sausage (about 3 links)
1/4 cup milk
1/2 t salt
1 t oregano
1 T fresh parsley
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup whole wheat/Italian bread crumbs
1. Combine all ingredients except ground beef and Italian sausage in a bowl. I like to mix the dry ingredients first before adding the wet ingredients, in this case egg and milk. Mix well and set aside.
2 Remove casing from Italian sausage by gently running your knife down the sausage. Peel it off and discard. Roughly chop the Italian sausage to the size of your ground beef.
3. The ground beef and Italian sausage are now ready to mingle with the rest of your ingredients. Add them into mixture made at Step # 1 and mix well. And do it with your hands, it’s fun!
4. The mixture is now ready to be shaped into balls. The size is up to you. I like mine slightly larger than the size of a golf ball. Line them up on a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes at 200 C. You can skip the baking part but I think it makes the meatballs sturdier. I also like the brown crusty exterior.
5. The meatballs can now be added to the simmering tomato sauce. Taste it before you do – now would be a good time to adjust salt, sugar and chili flakes (if using) to your liking. When the sauce tastes good to you, add in the meatballs and continue to simmer for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
6. Serve over pasta or wolf down as is, making sure not to burn your tongue.
This recipe is a keeper! The meatballs held its shape and were very flavorful. I thought the cloves in the tomato sauce would be kinda funky but apparently it is a common addition to authentic Italian tomato sauces, rendering fragrance and warmth. It was quite nice. The best part, of course, was watching Diego happily munching away on his dinner. I could only have very little pasta because of my stupid self-imposed diet but 4 meatballs were enough to fill me up. Enjoy with a nice glass of red wine, preferably on a day when allowing yourself pasta with abandon.
Fun Food Fact: Raw isn’t always better. The lycopene levels in tomatoes actually increase as they cook making them better for you!