These are the meatballs that Tracy‘s vegetarian boyfriend ate, like, four of. They’re that good, they convert the herbivores. She asked me for the recipe – “they’re like my nonna’s!” she exclaimed – but I explained that there wasn’t one, you just use a little of this and a bit of that, you know?
And then Nick’s sister asked for the recipe, and Sooin did too, and they wanted to know if it was on this site, and I said no, it wasn’t, because it’s the kind of thing you just make. You need a recipe for these? I asked, and people nodded yes. I thought they were everyone’s meatballs. Apparently they are my meatballs, and they are delicious.
I’m a little bit biased though. I mentioned a little while ago that if you were bent on seducing me (and you hadn’t already fed me too much wine, which is my favourite), meatballs would get you most of the way there. I don’t know what it is about them; meatballs, in all their forms, make me sublimely happy. There are probably hundreds of ball jokes to be pulled from that statement, but I stand by it.
So anyway, some friends came for dinner tonight, and I decided that we would have spaghetti and meatballs, because it is one of my favourite things and I like to share it, and I wanted to write the recipe down at last. Really, I’m pretty sure that they’re everyone’s meatballs. There’s no secret to them. But in case they are special, or different, or if you’re looking to score, here’s the recipe.
- 1 lb. lean ground beef (not extra-lean – please, not extra-lean)
- 1 lb. ground pork
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp. (rounded) fat (butter or bacon fat, or olive oil if you want)
- 1 tbsp. (rounded) tomato paste
- 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup dry bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
Preheat your oven to 375°F.
Combine all of your ingredients in a large bowl. Squish it all together with your hands to ensure that crumbs and eggs are thoroughly combined. Don’t worry if the meat looks like it isn’t – it’s better to have the meat sort of separate, so that you can taste pork and beef distinctly. And you must use your hands. There is no other way.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Roll meat mixture into balls roughly an inch and a half in diameter. This recipe makes about two dozen – if you have many more, your balls are too small. (Snicker.) And the reverse is true too. Place balls on baking sheet.
And here’s where it gets interesting.
If you’re just feeding you and another person, or maybe two smaller, miniature persons, then use a dozen, or fewer, and freeze the rest.
If you’re insane and for some reason always end up feeding tons of people even though you’re poor and hardly anyone ever invites you to their homes for dinner even though you’re very nice and don’t always chug the wine or step on the cat, cook them all, but double your sauce recipe and use the two-pound bag of spaghetti.
Because these are deceptively large, I would bet that no one will be able to eat more than three. Four is pushing it.
For sauce, there are lots of options. A sauce I am loving right now is tomato sauce with onion and butter from Deb at Smitten Kitchen. In the summer, I use my special slow-cooked tomato sauce, and it’s very nice then too. Tonight, I made a simple sauce of one onion and three cloves of garlic sweated in olive oil, two 28-ounce cans of crushed tomatoes, simmered for forty minutes, then salt, pepper, and basil stirred in right at the end. Keep it simple with the sauce – these are hearty meatballs, and they will be the star of the dish. Stew the meatballs in the sauce for about twenty minutes before serving; they’ll cut the acidity of the tomatoes, and they’ll warm up nicely all on their own.
There it is. See how easy? So easy. Really inexpensive. No reason not to make them for me. I’ll bring dessert. And wine. And soft slippers, because of the cat.