Saturday, June 20, 2009

Anne's Excellent Meatballs

Everyone knows that I am an Italian food fanatic. It could be humid and hot outside (like it is today), but I will never turn down a bowl of homemade spaghetti & meatballs. Earlier in May, I did a Throwdown.. A comparison of 2 S&M recipes, but it never hurts to try new recipes, right? These meatballs were terrific! They were moist, flavorful, and delicious. I especially loved the beef/pork combination. These meatballs are good even before they go into the sauce. I was worried about the onion because I don't like raw chopped onion in burgers or meatloaf. The onion just melts into the meatballs. I was worried about it being so "wet" when I was forming the balls but the texture was great.

As for the marinara sauce, I was concerned that it would be too bland, but the flavors were good. A good, basic marinara recipe, but I did add some additional seasonings, which are noted below. I also doubled the batch of meatballs, and I felt that the ratio of the (double batch of) meatballs to the marinara sauce was perfect. Make sure you have some time on your hands- while the recipe itself is very easy, my DB spent a good bit of time frying up the meatballs. The sauce also takes 2-3 hours to cook as well. Warning: This makes A LOT of sauce- so much so that I had to upgrade my cookware to my 7-qt dutch oven! This sauce can also be cooled and stored in the refrigerator for a few days and freezes really well.

Since there is only the two of us, we always have an abundance of food leftover so we like to give food away to friends. This recipe made a lot of food! After one bite of this, my normally very generous DB turned to me and said "No sharing." LOL. We had this with my Garlic Knots, and it was perfect!

Meatballs (I doubled this recipe below)
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, 1/4-inch dice
2 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
Pinch crushed red pepper
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pound ground pork
2 large eggs
1 cup grated Parmigiano
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup water
Marinara Sauce, recipe follows

1. Coat a large sauté pan with olive oil, add the onions and bring to a medium-high heat. Season the onions generously with salt and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes. The onions should be very soft and aromatic but have no color.

2. Add the garlic and the crushed red pepper and sauté for another 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to cool.

3. In a large bowl combine the meats, eggs, Parmigiano, parsley and bread crumbs. It works well to squish the mixture with your hands.

4. Add the onion mixture and season generously with salt and squish some more.

5. Add the water and do 1 final really good squish. The mixture should be quite wet. Test the seasoning of the mix by making a mini hamburger size patty and cooking it. The mixture should taste really good! If it doesn't, it is probably missing salt. Add more. Add more anyway. (I didn't do the "taste test".)

6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
7. Shape the meat into desired size. Some people like 'em big some people like 'em small. I prefer meatballs slightly larger than a golf ball.
8. Coat a large sauté pan with olive oil and bring to a medium-high heat. Brown the meatballs on all sides. (I cooked mine on medium-low heat and it came out perfect.)

9. Place them on a cookie sheet and bake them in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked all the way through. If using right away, add them to your big pot of marinara sauce. If not using right away, they can be frozen for later use. (If you're making larger meatballs, I would increase the baking time, unless you're planning on letting them cook in the marinara sauce.)

10. Serve with pasta and sauce or just eat them straight out of the pot! YUM!

Marinara Sauce
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (I used enough to coat the bottom of the dutch oven)
1/4 pound diced pancetta(I used 3-oz pancetta)
2 large Spanish onions, cut into 1/4-inch dice
Kosher salt
4 large garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
4 (28-ounce) cans Italian plum San Marana tomatoes (I used a combination of whole, crushed, puree, and tomato sauce)
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1/2 Tbsp dried basil
Hearty dash of crushed red pepper

1. Coat a large saucepot with olive oil and add the placenta. Bring the pot to a medium-high heat and cook the pancetta for 4 to 5 minutes.
2. Add the onions, season generously with salt and stir to coat with olive oil. Cook the onions for 6 to 7 minutes stirring frequently. The onions should become very soft and aromatic but have no color.
3. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes stirring frequently.

4. Pass the tomatoes through the food mill. Be sure to pass all of the pulp through the holes leaving only the stems and the seeds, and be sure to scrape the pulp off of the bottom of the food mill. That's all of the big money stuff! Add the tomatoes to the pot and rinse out 1 of the empty tomato cans with water and add that water to the pot (about 2 to 3 cups). (I didn't pass the tomatoes through a food mill, but I did break down the whole tomatoes into bite-sized chunks. I also did not add water.)

5. Season generously with salt and TASTE IT!!!! Tomatoes take a lot of salt. Season in baby steps and taste every step of the way.

6. Add the dried oregano, basil, and crushed red pepper.

7. Cook the sauce for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally and tasting frequently. (I cooked the sauce for 2 hours over low heat, added the baked meatballs, and let it cook for an additional 30 minutes-1 hour.)

Yield: 2 quarts
Source: Anne Burrell


Anonymous said...

Scrolling through I had to do a double-take at adding the "placenta." Upon further inspection, it was a typo of pancetta. Definitely made me laugh.
Your blog is great by the way! So many tasty recipes.

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