On the menu tonight – Meatballs and Sauce!
I just got back from a trip to Boston and one of the places I had to eat was the North End. There are SO many great Italian places to eat there. One of the places we went served a big meatball and sauce as an appetizer. As many Italian places I’ve eaten over the years, this is the first time I can recall seeing just a meatball and sauce as an appetizer.
This was one of the most tender meatballs I’ve had. The sauce that the meatballs were cooked in was incredible. I decided to try to replicate this incredible dish at home. It honestly wasn’t as good as what I had in Boston, BUT it was still AMAZING!
For the meatballs, I used pork and beef. I think the restaurant in Boston used pork, beef, and veal. I ever-so gently mixed all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl. If you over-mix the ingredients, you get a firm meatball – be gentle.
The sauce – When I decided to make this, I wanted the sauce to cook a few hours on low. It will be ready to eat in about 45 minutes, but I let it sit on low for a couple of hours – the house will smell amazing.
Serve the meatballs and sauce either by themselves, over pasta… OR you could make the BEST ever meatball subs. Don’t forget the garlic bread! You need garlic bread to sop up every bit of that lovely sauce. Mangia!
Meatballs and Sauce
Meatballs and Sauce
- The Meatballs:
- 2 lbs ground beef (80/20)
- 1 lb ground pork
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 cup Pecorino Romano
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup Italian bread crumbs
- 1 cup Milk
- 1 cup Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp Onion Powder
- 1 Tbsp Granulated Garlic
- 1 Tbsp Oregano
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil for browning
- The Sauce:
- 2 28oz cans Crushed Tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Onion, finely chopped
- 3-4 bay leaves
- 1/2 bunch Parsley, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp Red Pepper flakes
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 6-8 Basil leaves, torn into little pieces or chiffonaded
Pre-heat, over medium heat, a large dutch oven or heavy pot that will hold all the sauce and the meatball
In a large bowl, gently mix all the ingredients for the meat balls - don't over work the mixture
Form the meatballs into 1 1/2 - 2 inch balls
Brown the meatballs in batches and set aside
In the same pot, add some additional olive oil, the chopped onion, red pepper flakes, and cook until translucent - about 4-5 minutes
Add the garlic and cook for about a minute, then add the crushed tomatoes, bay leaves, and parsley
Season with salt and pepper
Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce to low
If you want a really smooth sauce use an immersion blender or blender
Add the meatballs and simmer at least 45 minutes.
When it is time to serve, add the basil and give it a gentle mix
If you haven't already, remove the bay leaves