Thursday, April 19, 2012

Italian-Style Meatballs

This was my first time making homemade meatballs, and I wasn't disappointed. The recipe I found is interesting in that the meatballs are slow-cooked in tomato sauce for 3 hours instead of baked. While this does make them delicious, it also requires, well, time, which a lot of people seem to be short on these days. No matter! This recipe is worth it.

Here's what you'll need:

1 lb. ground beef*
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs**
Garlic (I'd recommend omitting the plain salt if you use garlic salt)
Parsley flakes
Minced onion
1 jar (about 24 oz.) of your favorite spaghetti sauce

*I used lean ground beef since there isn't a way to drain off the excess fat in this recipe; the meatballs cook right in the sauce. I also read that for an even more "authentic" Italian flavor, you can use equal parts of ground beef, veal, and pork.

**I happened to have Italian-style bread crumbs on hand, which were already seasoned, so I went lighter on the extra spices; you'll probably want to use more if you use plain bread crumbs, perhaps even adding Italian seasoning. Of course, you can add whatever spices you like.

In a large bowl, combine the meat, egg, milk, Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, and spices. (I didn't bother measuring the spices; I simply eyeballed it and added however much I thought was appropriate.)

Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling raw meat! In particular you'll want to pay attention to your fingernails, as meat and other things can get caught under them.

Use your hands to incorporate all the ingredients together. (I know, it's cold, isn't it?)


Go ahead and pour your jar of spaghetti sauce into a large saucepan or slow-cooker so that it can start warming up. Use the "low" setting on a slow-cooker or a notch or two above low for the stove top.

Now it's time to shape the meatballs. Simply pinch off some of the meat mixture and roll it into a ball in your hands (like you would with Play-Doh). You could also use a small ice cream or cookie scoop if you want more even portions, but I didn't have one on hand; just make sure that you still roll the meatball in your hands so as to be sure that they're nice and solid. How many meatballs you get out of the mixture depends on how large or small you make them. I made mine about the size of ping-pong or golf balls, which yielded 27.

Now it's time to add the raw meatballs to your pot of sauce! You can use a pot on the stove top or a slow-cooker. I borrowed a friend's Crock-Pot® for the task.

Gently stir the meatballs so that they all get a coating of sauce. Cover the pot and simmer for 3 hours. (Yes, 3 hours.) I checked on it every now and then and gave the meatballs a gentle stir.

Looks good, eh? And trust me, it smells good too. Mmm... You can serve these bad boys over some pasta with a side of garlic bread like I did, or you could put them on some nice thick bread to make a meatball sub.

Yum yum! Not a single meatball was left last night. =) I think it's safe to say that it was a success. I would definitely make this again.

Your Cupcake,

~Jesia <3

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