Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Homemade Meatballs and Sauce


Meatballs and sauce and pasta are classic comfort food.

Looks fancy, looks hard, but in the end, you have a belly full of happiness and the conclusion that making homemade meatballs wasn't as hard as you thought it was going to be.

I have made these meatballs a couple of times now, and I can confidently assure you that these are the best meatballs ever.  Ever.

This time around, I decided to make a double batch (the recipe below reflects a single recipe served over pasta) and get at least a couple meals out of them.  I also opted to not serve them over pasta right away (I will share with you what I did do with them soon!)  The remaining meatballs went partially-cooked into the freezer for a quick and easy future meal!

You're gonna wanna make these....soon.  You will be glad you did.

*I don't usually take step-by-step photos...something about messy hands and expensive camera that just doesn't enhance the cooking process for me, but I was feeling a bit adventurous on this particular day....so here ya go!  And of course, my finished photo isn't exactly staged in a beautiful way...but sometimes the yumminess trumps the presentation...so, boom.

Assemble your ingredients.  And totally make these meatballs in your mixer if you have one.  Just don't overmix, or you will end up with weird-looking mush.  Trust me on this one.  It has happened.  And it's not pretty.

Cute little meatballs....I love the fresh parsley in them!

Getting all browned up in the olive oil....seriously love olive oil.

Mostly cooked, draining slightly on a soft bed of paper towels, awaiting the final submersion in the glorious, garlicky tomato sauce, where they will finish cooking though as they simmer.  A perfect blend of wonderful flavors.....

Homemade Meatballs and Sauce
Adapted from Pioneer Woman

Meatballs:
3/4 pounds ground beef
3/4 pounds Italian sausage
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup bread crumbs
2 whole eggs
3/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
splash of milk
1/2 cup olive oil

Sauce:
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup white or red wine (optional, but totally worth it!)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, minced
8 whole fresh basil leaves, cut chiffonade style
2 pounds spaghetti, cooked to al dente

Directions:
To make the meatballs, combine meat, garlic, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, eggs, salt, pepper, parsley, and a splash of milk in a mixing bowl.  Mix together well with hands.  Using a tablespoon, roll into 25 1 1/2-inch balls and place on a cookie sheet. Place cookie sheet into the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes to firm up.

To brown the meatballs, heat olive oil in a heavy pot or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add meatballs 8 at a time, turning to brown. Remove and drain on a paper towel after each batch. Set meatballs aside.

In the same pot, add the onions and garlic and cook for a few minutes, or until translucent. Pour in diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, and wine, if using. Add salt, pepper, and parsley. Stir to combine and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.

Add meatballs to pot of sauce and stir in gently. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring very gently a couple of times during the simmer.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.  Add a generous amount of salt right before adding the dry pasta.  Cook according to package directions, 9-11 minutes, until al dente.  Drain in a large colander and return to pot.

Just before serving, stir in basil into the tomato sauce.

Serve over cooked spaghetti. Sprinkle with extra Parmesan.

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