I love Italian food.
I could eat it everyday for every meal not just because my fiance is Italian, but because I simply love Italian flavors.
I also love cooking with Italian flavors – they all go so well with each other and I always have the ingredients on hand – garlic (duh), wine (double duh), parmesan cheese, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, parsley, basil…right there you have an amazing pasta! These are only a few of the “popular” Italian flavors but as you can see you only need a few to make a great dish.
For me personally, Italian cooking is something that comes more natural to me – I can usually whip up lasagna, meatballs, pasta, and salads without using a recipe and without measuring. I think this is the main reason why Vin is marrying me, but hey whatever works.
Below you will find one way I make meatballs. I personally don’t think you can really mess up a meatball. As long as you have enough flavors in there and don’t overcook them you can make them however you want. I used onion, garlic, eggs, ground beef, parsley, salt, pepper and seasoned Italian bread crumbs. I would have also added a little parmesan cheese but I forgot. Ya win some and ya lose some…
Mix together and roll into balls – I love the specks of green in there!
Next, brown them on both sides in a saute pan until a nice crust forms. Don’t be afraid of a little color here – the crust adds a crunch and extra flavor.
Now we need a sauce to go with our meatballs! I don’t have a preference of tomatoes just yet, but I do shop in the Italian section in my grocery stores and purchase whatever they offer so Cento it is! Do you have a favorite brand of canned tomatoes? Please do share!
This is a pretty typical sauce as well. Saute onions and garlic until translucent.
Then add tomatoes, wine, parmesan cheese, sugar, spices and a little water if it seems too thick. Let it simmer for a bit for those flavors to come together.
You will then add the meatballs into the sauce to cook through. This gives the sauce and meatballs so much more flavor. It also allows the meatballs to all cook evenly and stay moist.
Now assemble! Cut your bread (I used Asiago cheese – yum!) and place underneath the broiler. This is an essential step because it not only melts the cheese, but browns the meatballs even more giving them an extra crunchy crust.
Add fresh basil and you are done!
- 1.5 pounds ground beef (I actually had 1.61 pounds)
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped (a little more than ¼ cup)
- ½ cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg and 1 large egg without yolk, mixed
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 28 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup red wine
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped basil
- To make the meatballs, combine meat, garlic, breadcrumbs, eggs, salt, pepper, parsley, and milk in a mixing bowl. Mix together well with hands (careful not to overmix). Roll into 15 3 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet and cover. Place cookie sheet into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or even overnight.
- While meatballs are setting, add onion and garlic to a large pot and cook for a few minutes, or until translucent. Pour in diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, and wine. Add salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, sugar, parmesan cheese and parsley. Stir to combine and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.
- To brown the meatballs, heat olive oil in a heavy pot or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add meatballs 6 to 8 at a time, turning to brown. Remove and drain on a paper towel after each batch.
- Once all the meatballs are browned, gently add meatballs to sauce. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring very gently a couple of times.
- While meatballs are finishing cooking, turn on broiler to 425 degrees. Cut bread and place cut side up in broiler to toast for 3-5 minutes. After meatballs are cooked through, assemble sandwiches by placing 3-4 meatballs on each sandwich, top with sauce and mozzarella cheese. Place sandwich back into broiler for 3-5 minutes for cheese to melt. Top with basil and enjoy.