I love Italian food.
I also love cooking with Italian ingredients- 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.
We love meatballs in our house. I often make them at the beginning of the week and munch on them for lunch or snacks. They are a little time consuming, but nothing that you can’t handle, I promise! There are a few ways to cook meatballs – I like to brown them in a hot saute pan to get the outsides nice and crunchy, but if you want to save a little time, you can simply bake them in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, then put them in the sauce and let them simmer an additional 5-10 minutes until they’re cooked through.
A good sauce simply requires good tomatoes. Go for the San Marzano tomatoes if you can. I also like to use Escalon’s 6 in 1 Ground Tomatoes because they’re not as acidic tasting to me.
One more thing that makes a great sauce…a good splash of red wine and good handful of parmesan cheese. There are probably 439084390 different ways to make tomato sauce – I specifically like this one for meatball sandwiches because it’s a little thicker. You could totally use this sauce over pasta too – if it’s too thick, simply add 1/2 cup of water.
I used a french baguette because It holds up well to the meatballs, but you could also use an asiago bread or ciabatta. Place the cheese on the bread first then the meatballs before placing it under the broiler. Not that you can’t put the cheese on top, because you totally can, but when you place it under the meatballs, you ensure that it doesn’t all come off in that first bite.
You know what I’m talking about, right? Like when you take a bite of pizza and all the cheese falls off? It’s horrible!
Don’t forget to pin this recipe to Pinterest – just click the image below!
- 1.5 pounds ground beef (I actually had 1.61 pounds)
- 1 small yellow onion, finely 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
- Sliced mozzarella or provolone cheese
- 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 over mix). 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. (letting the meatballs rests helps give them more flava).
- While meatballs are setting, drizzle olive oil in a large pot and place over medium heat. Add onions and saute for a few minutes then add garlic and saute for an additional minute. Once onions are translucent, add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Bring sauce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring often to ensure the bottom does not burn. The sauce should not boil, just simmer.
- 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 and simmer for about 20 minutes until cooked through, gently stirring often.
- Assemble sandwiches - place two sliced of cheese on the bread, then 3-4 meatballs, then the sauce and place under broiler for about 5 minutes or until cheese starts to lightly brown on the edges. Garnish with basil and parmesan cheese.
Source: Stuck on Sweet, Adapted From: The Pioneer Woman