There are a few rules I follow when it comes to my meatball game.
1. Bread crumbs should not be bought from a supermarket.
We can add a lot of extra flavor to our meatballs by taking a few extra steps in the bread crumb department. If you are anything like me you can rarely finish an entire french baguette before it becomes stale. Save that stale bread - you can always freeze it until you have enough to use. I cut my bread into cubes and toss it in garlic paste, olive oil, salt and pepper, then move it into the oven.
P.S. Try not to eat all the toasted bread before you get it into the food processor.
2. Stay simple. Our job is to enhance the meat, not suffocate it.
No bacon. No sausage. This is the time for purity.
3. Parmesan, always.
I like to brown my meatballs in a piping hot skillet. The exterior gets really brown and crisp before we finish cooking them in the sauce. I used Smitten Kitchen’s tomato sauce recipe and I love how simple it is. I prefer a slightly sweeter sauce, so I added two tablespoons of sugar.
Voila! Balance is the ratio of meatballs to pasta.
makes about three dozen meatballs
- 4 cups stale baguette, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic paste
- 3 tablespoons freshly basil, chiffonade
- 2 lbs ground beef, 80/20
- 3 large eggs
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- kosher salt
- olive oil
- 1 pound dry linguine pasta
- butter for pasta
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a medium bowl whisk to combine 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt, pepper and garlic paste. Toss bread cubes in the olive oil mixture and spread out onto a lined baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and golden. Place the toasted bread cubes and basil in the work bowl of your food processor and pulse into fine crumbs.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in the bottom of a medium skillet until it shimmers. Add onion and 1 teaspoon salt. Sautee over medium heat until the onions begin to brown on the edges.
Whisk eggs with a fork in a small bowl.
In a large mixing bowl combine ground beef, bread crumbs, eggs, onion, and parmesan. Work the mixture lightly to roughly combine before transferring to the food processor. Pulse several times until the mixture is smooth.
Form the meat mixture into 1 ounce balls. Place the balls on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
While the meatballs are chilling prepare the tomato sauce. The recipe is from Smitten Kitchen, I added some sugar for a bit of sweetness.
- 28 ounces canned, whole peeled tomatoes
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and halved
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, if desired
- Salt to taste
In a small saucepan combine tomatoes, onion and butter over medium heat. Bring the sauce to a simmer and reduce heat. Allow the sauce to simmer slowly for 30-45 minutes. Stir often, mashing the tomatoes against the side of the pan. Remove the onion and salt and sugar to taste.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Cook the meatballs until the outside is browned. Add tomato sauce and simmer the meatballs in the sauce for 5-7 minutes or until cooked through. Serve over buttered pasta. Enjoy!