Despite my glaringly obvious addiction to all things Italian, I have never been the biggest fan of lasagna or meatballs. For the longest time, I felt a sense of sheer disappointment towards myself. Two of the greats, and I just wasn’t a fan.
So, I’ve been obsessing over risotto for … oh … a year now. Longer than that if you count all of the years before I learned to make it on my own. But when I started this blog nearly a year ago, I had full intentions of learning to make things I had previously deemed “difficult”; i.e. risotto.
Once my obsession for risotto reached a fairly dangerous level, I began running out of ideas for protein or veggies to pair with it. Shrimp, asparagus, Italian pot roast, yes yes yes. All good things. But then I made short ribs one night and found myself wanting just the sauce and risotto to eat on its own. I don’t know if there are many things I love more. But the rich, hearty tomato sauce from the short ribs left my mind wandering towards other tomato sauce-based recipes I could throw on top of risotto. Alas, here we are. Italian meatballs.
I’ve made these at least a half a dozen times by now. This draft has sat in my post dump bucket for nearly four months. However, I could never find a good enough photo to add as my “featured image”, so I waited for my new camera to arrive so I could attempt to do these little balls some justice. (What a great excuse to just keep making meatballs and risotto for dinner, right? Right.)
So, without further ado, please enjoy these Italian meatballs. Or I will for you. They’re fun and easy to make, and if you can let the whole meatball mixture refrigerate overnight, please do so. The last time I did that, they turned out even better than they ever had before. (But they’re really good no matter what).
Next on my to-do list: lasagna.
[my additional tips!]:
Actual Prep / cook time: 35 minutes
Clean-up difficulty: 3
Overall difficulty to make: 3
Overall satisfaction: 9
Price range? This dish is under $10 for two people.
What I would change next time? I say make this to suit your personal flavor profile. For me, this recipe nails it. Savory, rich and soft. I LOVE risotto, as well – it made for the perfect combination for the meatballs! Elegant and delicious!
For your own version, I recommend:.
- Adjust spices to your liking IF you think you need to, but the recipe is pretty solid as is.
- I noted this in the recipe below, but if you can refrigerate the “meat mixture” overnight, do it. I tried this last time and I thought it tasted better than the original version.
- Use the pasta sauce of your choice – I like to use a basic one so I can always add my spice variations to it, but can easily use your favorite and add nothing to it!
© 2015 : a flavor journal : by sara alvord
- 1/2 c. yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 slice white bread, crusts removed, shredded
- 6 oz. ground beef
- 6 oz. spicy ground Italian sausage
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs (italian seasoned)
- 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp. Italian parsley, finely chopped
- 1.5 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 can pasta sauce
- 1/4 tsp. basil
- 1/4 tsp. oregano
- 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
- pinch dried mint
- salt and pepper to taste
- Tear the slice of white bread into tiny pieces, placing them into a large bowl as you tear them. Combine all of the meatball ingredients, except for the olive oil, into the bowl with the white bread.
- Mix thoroughly with your hands until everything has totally combined. Get in there and enjoy it.
- Spoon about 2-3 tablespoons of the meat into your hands and roll into a ball. Set these balls aside on a cutting board or plate near your oven. Repeat until you have no meat left in the bowl.
- Heat a large sauté pan slightly above medium, and add the olive oil and tilt the pan to coat the entire surface with the oil. Place half of the meatballs into the pan, and brown on all sides. Remove the meatballs from the pan and place onto a clean plate once they are browned. Repeat with the second half of meatballs. Remember, you are not cooking them through, you're just browning the outsides!
- In the same sauté pan, without cleaning it out, add your pasta sauce and herbs. Turn the heat down to about medium-low so it's just simmering, then add the meatballs. Spoon some of the sauce over every meatball, then cover the pan and let it set for five minutes.
- Flip the meatballs over and repeat.
- Serve these over pasta or risotto, and enjoy while hot!
- *I made these last weekend and let the meatball mixture refrigerate overnight. I think this allows all of the ingredients to get to know each other a little more, and I thought it was better overall.