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Meatballs like my grandma made them

December 9th, 2008 · 7 Comments · burgerbaroness, favorites, potluck, recipe

Originally uploaded by dragonballyee

Here is the recipe I promised you from this post. It isn’t an exact science because my dad just told me what the ingredients were for them and I don’t have any exact measurements for anything. I will try to do my best though. I usually make a really big batch of this with sauce so I have some to freeze. I especially love making this dish on Sundays because that’s when my family usually ate this with pasta. It always takes me back to my grandma’s kitchen.

Very saucy.

3 (28oz) cans of San Marzano whole tomatoes
1 (6oz) can of tomato paste
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp of any combo of herbs: basil, parsley, oregano (I used dried this time around because I couldn’t find any fresh that looked good)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

I suggest you actually get the sauce started before you make the meatballs and have it on the stove simmering for about two hours  before you add in the meatballs.

In a large 6-8 quart pot, add enough olive oil to cover the bottom. Turn the heat on to medium. When the oil is hot add onions and let them cook for about 5 minutes and then add garlic and tomato paste. Mix the paste in with the onions and garlic and let that cook for a couple of minutes. Add tomatoes, crushed by hand, with their juices to the pot.Bring it to a boil and then cover it and let it simmer on low for 2 hours.

Mmm meatballs

1 1/2 lbs ground veal
1 1/2 lbs ground pork (you can use any variation of veal, beef and pork)
2 or 2 1/2cups of bread crumbs
1 or 1 1/2 cups of pecorino, grated
6 eggs, beaten
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large bunch of Italian parsley, chopped finely
Olive oil – enough to cover the bottom of your skillet

In a large bowl combine meat, bread crumbs, cheese, eggs, garlic and parsley and mix by hand. You can also season it with some salt and pepper though I find the cheese to add enough saltiness to the meatballs. Form into balls, about the size of a golf ball.

In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, heat the oil until almost smoking. Add the meatballs, working in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pan, and cook until deep golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes per batch. Once the meatballs are browned on the outside and cooked on the inside add them to the sauce. I usually let them cook  in the sauce on low for another hour or so.

Serve with crusty hoagie rolls and more pecorino cheese. You can also add some provolone to it and put it under the broiler so the cheese melts.

Addendum: I guess they were a success because while this blog didn’t get mentioned my meatballs did in a write up about the potluck by Rich Nichols!

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7 Comments so far ↓

  • zantimisfit

    Why do people fry the meatballs first instead of cooking them in the sauce?

  • burgerbaroness

    That’s a good question, which I am not sure I have a good answer to. I fry them because that’s how my family did it. I have fried them to get them brown and then added them to the sauce to finish cooking and it made my sauce really tasty but also really oily.

  • jaimeshake

    dude, your meatballs reminded me of my grandma too. they were perfect!

  • yoko

    My mom would brown them for the color, and to get some of the fat out. She would put them on paper towels before adding them to a sauce, letting more of the fat out of the meatballs.

  • zantimisfit

    So it has a lot to do with getting the fat out.

  • yoko

    yeah, Zanti, I guess you could say that. ;)

  • Silas

    Frying the meatballs first sears the outer layer of the meatballs locking the flavors in and helps to keep their shape.
    Putting the meatballs in raw; the meatballs would taste bland because their flavor would have been drawn out into the sauce compared to meatballs that were fried. Plus you would have to skim a lot of fat off the top of the sauce that you would have gotten rid of by frying them first.

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