Note: This is an update to my first posted recipe. Sometimes when you make things even better, you just have to remember it ;-)
I have often tried to come up with/find recipes that can serve 1-2 people, but this recipe is made for either family gatherings, potlucks, or if you're just itching to have some meatballs for quite a while.
This recipe is derived from 2 great recipes on allrecipes.com - Italian Spaghetti Sauce & Meabtalls (I took the sauce part) and The Best Meatballs. For my recipe below, it's VERY IMPORTANT to use freshly ground meat and freshly grated cheese. I recommend getting the meat from a butcher shop and the cheese from an Italian deli. It makes a big difference.
The cooking time is approximately 3-hours - from prep to cook time. And yes, that is a pretty long time to be in the kitchen, but this is also a great recipe to involve loved ones, since 4+ hands definitely make it better than 2.
1 medium-sized yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, rough chop (I prefer a mixture of finely chopped and big chunks :-))
1 28oz can whole peeled tomatoes (I use San Marzano)
1 24oz jar of your favorite tomato sauce (I uze San Marzano Marinara sauce)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
2 bay leaves
1 12oz can tomato paste
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 pound ground beef
1/4 pound ground veal
1/4 pound ground pork
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 freshly cup grated Romano cheese (I get the one that is sold at the grocery deli)
2 1/4 teaspoons fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
salt and black pepper to taste
3/4 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
- In a large pot, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onion is translucent. The pot should be large enough for the sauce and meatballs to simmer later.
- Add crushed tomatoes, salt, sugar, and bay leaves. Stir in the peeled tomatoes.
- Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer with cover on for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, remove cover and use a potato masher to mash the peeled tomatoes. Continue this until you achieve your desired tomato chunkiness.
- Stir and continue to simmer for 30 more minutes with the cover off.
- Remove bay leaves. Add tomato paste, basil, pepper. Stir in tomato paste thoroughly.
- Continue to simmer with cover on for another 30 minutes, or until meatballs are ready to be added.
Durng the 30 minutes intervals, stir sauce occassionally.
After the initial 60 minute simmer period (up to Step 5 from the Sauce directions), I start prepping the meatballs.
- Using freshly ground meat, combine beef, veal, and pork in a large bowl. Slowly add salt and pepper, eggs, garlic and parsley. In that order :-)
- Add the freshly grated cheese, 1/2 cup at a time. Mixing into meat mixture thoroughly..
- Slowly add bread crumbs and water into meat mixture. Do it in 1/4 cup, alternating items. (First 1/4 cup of bread crumbs. Mix. Next , 1/4 cup of water. Mix. etc.) Do this until you get to the second 1/4 cup of water.
- Before adding the last 1/4 cups of breadcrumbs and water, gauge the consistency f the mixture. The mixture should feel very moist, but be able to hold its shape if rolled into a ball. Do a test meatball to check on desired consistency. If the meatball appears to dry, add more water in 1/4 cup intervals. If the mixture appears too wet (can't hold it's shape) add more breadcrumbs annd cheese, 1/8 cup each.
- Shape into meatballs of desired size. This recipe gives about 17-18 medium-large meatballs.
- Heat olive oil in a large pan and cook meatballs in batches. Place on paper towel to cool and drain.
- After cooling, add the meatballs to the sauce.
- Continue to simmer sauce and meatballs for 30 more minutes, with cover on.
Make sure to give some time for the sauce to cool down before serving. You can either serve with spaghetti (cooked while meatballs are simmering in the sauce, step 8) or with a nice roll or baguette, ala a meatball sub
As a generally note for noodle cooking, salt is not required. The sauce and meatballs themselves are pretty tasty and do not require any additional seasoning to the noodles.