Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Inspired to make comfort food by a very gloomy Monday, I thought I'd try my hand at Meatballs & Marinara or "Red Sauce". Now this is a recipe that is passed on through generations, everyone's Grandma has her own recipe and her own tricks to make her's taste better than anyone else's.

As I am neither Italian nor do I have a Grandmother who made Meatballs, I realized I had to get cracking to start my own tradition! I perused a few recipes and brought together ingredients for what I thought would make a great Sauce & Meatballs. This was my first experiment and it went pretty well!

I will continue to tweak and listen for little secrets to make a better Meatball and Sauce (do YOU have any?)--but if you're like me and want to try this for fun, this is a great way to start. I used ready-made Tomato Sauce (whatever I had in the cupboard) and whatever pasta I had lying around (Spinach Linguine).

**Since a heat debacle involving too much Cayenne Pepper recently, I did go a little light on the Red Pepper flakes--I think next time I will definately use more.

***I used the 3-meat Triangle for these meatballs. I forgot where I heard this but Pork, Beef & Veal are the standard in meat-ball making. But everyone has their own thing--if you don't like mixing meats or don't like one of the 3, leave it out and substitute whatever else you'd prefer. Before this point, I had made/eaten home-made Meatballs that were only beef.


1/2 lb of ground Veal
1/2 lb of ground Pork
1/2 lb of ground Beef (90% lean is what I used, a lot of Fat in this recipe from elsewhere!)
1/2 cup of Grated Parmesan-Reggiano
1/2 cup of Italian Breadcrumbs
Palmful of Italian Seasoning
1 and 1/2 beaten Egg
Teaspoon of Red Pepper Flakes
Grab of Fresh Italian Parsley
3 cloves Fresh Garlic

1 jar of Store-bought Sauce
1 cup of Full-bodied Red Wine (I used Cabernet from Chile, normally a Chianti would work but the San Giovese Grapes are too acidic for my stomach!)
2 cloves Garlic
Small palmful of Red Pepper Flakes
A little Garlic Powder
A little Italian Seasoning
1/4 cup of Grated Parmesan-Reggiano

  • To get things started, first make your pasta. Make sure to make it according to the package directions, al dente (no mushy pasta here). When done cooking, make sure to rinse with cold water to prevent the pasta from cooking further. Set aside.
  • While your pasta is boiling, get your meatball ingredients in order in a large bowl, everything but the meat itself. So add the 1/2 cup of Parmesan & 1/2 cup of Breadcrumbs. Add beaten Eggs. Add Italian Seasoning & Salt, Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes, & chopped Garlic & Fine Chopped Parsley.
  • Make sure your pasta is done and set aside before you introduce the meat into the bowl with the ingredients.
  • Combine all meat and ingredients in the bowl--get your hands dirty. Make sure to combine the 3 meats well with ingredients. Mush it all together.
  • Make 1 inch meatballs. I made about 26!
  • Set meatballs in fridge to sit while you prepare to start cooking them. Wash your hands! Raw Meat protocol. I also wash the dishes at this point to make room for the cooking.
  • In a large, non-stick frying pan, introduce a couple swirls of EVOO and turn the stove to Medium-High Heat.
  • In bathes (I did two b/c I have a rather large pan) introduce the Meatballs a few at a time to the pan when it is heated. You should hear some noise, this is good, you want the pan to be hot in order to sear the sides of the meatballs. Ideally you want them to be crispy on the outside & browned. Keep doing this until you have about half or 1/3 of them in your pan.
  • Let them sit on one side for about a minute to sear. Then you have to CAREFULLY turn them around to sear on all sides. Let them sit for a couple minutes on each side.
  • Once they've cooked through, set those meatballs on a plate and continue the process until all meatballs are cooked.
  • With your last batch of meatballs, keep them in the pan. Introduce the set aside meatballs back to the pan. This is when you can quickly chop up a few cloves of garlic and throw them in along with some more Red Chilli Pepper. Let that sit for about a minute, TURN HEAT DOWN TO MEDIUM--do not burn the garlic!
  • Then put 1 cup of wine into the pan. This will deglaze everything and stir the meatballs around in the wine...mmmm. Turn the heat a little higher to help burn off some of the alcohol. Let them sit like this for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Then add your jarred Sauce. Carefully stir everything together. Bring to a low boil/simmer.
  • While simmering, add some Garlic powder, Italian Seasoning, Grated Parmesan & whatever else you think will taste good!
  • Let them cook together for at least 30 minutes.
  • Then serve on pasta and enjoy! MMMMMMMM.

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