A good meatball recipe is like solid gold. For years, I was under the impression that there was only one way to make a good meatball... little did I know that I would find a new way to make meatballs and with this new way, a whole new world of meatball would stretch out before me. It's true, these meatballs changed my life.
Many Italian-Americans will tell you time and again (and they will swear on things like Jesus over this subject, just for severity and effect) that you must either fry your meatball or bake it before you put in the sauce. I am here to dispel this meatball making myth. I know it's shocking, but it's true--you don't have to fry or bake your balls before you drop 'em in the sauce. There... I said it.
Now that you have taken a moment to absorb that news, take a deep breath. Did you take one? Okay good. Then you are ready to learn of this "new way." Be prepared, it will change your fried little meatball heart, but only in the best ways.
Let's talk meat because this is an important part of the meatball experience. For the most authentically authentic meatball you should probably use ground veal, pork, and beef in nearly equal parts. If you are trying to save money, then you are probably just using beef, and if you are REALLY earthy, cool, and pinching pennies (all at once) then you are ME, and you are using only venison. The point in all this? Just get some ground meat and don't worry so much about fitting into some "authenticity" box. Do what you can, no one will judge you.
To your meat you are going to add some spices, freshly pressed garlic, bread crumbs, and egg.
Oooooooo.... pretty, right?! So you're all set to get down and dirty in the meatballs. And there is only one way that you accomplish the proper mix.
Can you guess what it is?
YOUR HANDS! This is a must. If you can't mix the ingredients with your hands then you should either find someone to do it for you, or cry because you will never know the satisfaction of the perfectly mixed meatball. The choice is yours.
I probably should have done in this a metal bowl for a better, more clear picture... but I digress. Look at that perfectly hand-mixed hunk of meatball meat!
I like my meatballs to be shaped into golf ball sized balls. This way I can eat a little more of them, and they aren't too big.
Once you have them all done you can give them about 15 minutes to rest at room temperature and then you are going to throw them into a big old pot of "the" marinara sauce to cook.
OMG! Doesn't that look like heaven on a spoon?!
I want to note several things here:
a) no little burnt spots on the meatball from frying and/or baking--awesome!
b) I feel like I can see the time, love and tenderness in that meatball
c) I think my photography skills are really improving! Hehe.
Serving suggestion: Meatball sliders
Topped with a little mozzarella and placed on a homemade roll, these meatballs knock it OUT OF THE PARK as sliders. If you have never had a meatball slider, you just haven't lived.
Time: 1 1/2 hours | Makes 12-13 meatballs, Serves 4 | Difficulty: Medium
You Will Need:
1/2 pound ground meat
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
palmful of salt
3 dashes cayenne pepper
1/3 cup Italian bread crumbs
Place your ingredients in a bowl and with your hands (no cheating!) mix the ingredients until well blended.
When blended, form the meat mixture into golf ball sized balls and place them in a dish to rest about 15 minutes. You should get about 12, or a baker's dozen (13).
Heat the marinara sauce on the stove. Add the meatballs (gently) into the sauce and bring it up to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer the sauce and meatballs for about 45 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through, stirring gently a few times around the outside of the pot (so not to break up the meatballs).
Serve over pasta, as meatball sliders, or meatball subs with people you love! The result should be the most tender meatballs you have ever enjoyed!