Meatballs, Marinara and SpaghettiCourse: DinnerCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy
So the search for the best meatball recipe has been many years in the running. I grew up with a family friend who made the best meatballs ever. They had great flavor, were so moist and everything was perfection. He passed away and I was to young to want the recipe. So the search went on and this recipe is the best. I had to make some changed and additions but overall these meatballs are fantastic. The best part is you make tons so the freeze well for up to a couple months. My kids would just eat the meatballs alone or with spaghetti that they would whip up. You can’t go wrong. It is worth making a large batch for the ease of having moist, flavorful meatballs ready for any dish you want to make or for hungry kids.
Extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow or red onion, chopped
Salt and Fresh ground pepper
1/2 pound of each: ground beef, ground pork, ground veal
2 large eggs
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons toasted fennel seed
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup water
- Marinara Sauce
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 lb pancetta
2 large Spanish onions, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 lg garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
1-2 Tablespoons Penzeys Tuscan Sunset
1 Tablespoon sun dried tomato paste
4 (28oz) cans Italian San Marzano plum tomatoes
- Heat a saute pan over med high heat and add onions. Season onions with a generous amount of salt and cook for 5-7 minutes. The onions should be very soft and smell good but with no color. Add the garlic, crushed red pepper and toasted fennel seeds and saute for 1 minute. Turn heat off and allow to cool in pan.
- In a large bowl, combine meats, eggs, cheese, parsley, and bread crumbs. Using your hands, mix everything together so all the ingredients are incorporated. Add the onion mixture (SAVE THE PAN) to the meat, season with more salt and mix to combine. Add the water and mix well one more time. The mixture will be quite wet. Add a bit more salt.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Shape the meatballs into desired size. Coat the saute pan used for the onions with oil over med high heat. Brown meatballs on all sides then transfer to a rimmed baking pan, and bake for 15 minutes or until cooked through. If using right away, add them to the pot of marinara sauce. If not, allow to cool and bag in quantities you will use later. Then freeze for later use. You can also freeze the sauce for later use as well.
- If using now, make a big pot of spaghetti and serve with the sauce and meatballs.
- Marinara Sauce
- Add the oil to a saucepan and heat over medium high heat, add the pancetta and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the onions and season well with salt and stir to coat everything in the pan. Cook onions for 6-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Onions should be soft but no color. Add the garlic and cook another 2-3 minutes.
- Pass the tomatoes through a food mill. Be sure to pass through the holes leaving only the stems and seeds, be sure to scrape the pulp off the bottom of the mill. This is what brings the flavor. Add the tomatoes to the pot and add 1 can of water to the pot or add 2-3 cups. Season with salt and pepper. Keep tasting as the tomatoes take a lot of salt. I also added a Tablespoon of Penzeys Tuscan Sunset and a Tablespoon of Sun Dried Tomato paste. Bring to a simmer and cook the sauce on low for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Use the sauce right away or let cool and freeze in quantities you will use later. Makes about 2 quarts.
- If you don’t have a food mill, don’t fret I have one but the first time i made it I couldn’t find it so I just used 2 28oz can whole plum toms and used my hands to pulverize them with 2 28 oz can of diced tomatoes.