Sunday, November 13, 2011

Meatballs with Marinara from Scratch

I'm pretty sure meatballs with marinara, made from scratch, is listed somewhere in my definition of all time greatest comfort foods.  It's a meal that brings me great satisfaction because it is unbelievably delicious.   An added bonus is that it is easy and pretty healthy for you.  In a modern world of conveniently frozen (processed) food products and canned sauces, a meal like this is seldom "made" anymore.  And while I don't blame folks -- after all, time is something we're all a little short on -- what a shame that we don't take the time to learn, to teach, to create, and just enjoy simple things like cooking.

Meatballs made from scratch are not difficult, but they do require a little well spent time.  Ideally a good meatball should include 1/2 ground beef, 1/4 rough ground pork shoulder, and 1/4 ground veal (although beef alone will work), bread crumbs made from a baguette that's a few days old, sauteed onion and garlic, dried and fresh oregano, fresh thyme, fresh grated Parmesan Reggiano, fresh ground S&P, and one egg.  Some people add a  bit of ricotta cheese for a smoother texture but I find this unnecessary when using the baguette. I make the meatballs a bit on the large side.  The meatballs are then sauteed in a little olive oil until browned (locking those juices inside), then add a bit of water to the pan and cover with a lid until cooked through.  For the final step, the meatballs are added to the homemade marinara sauce and slow braised on the stove top for about 20-30 minutes.  Any longer and the meatballs will begin to deconstruct.  Finally serve meatballs and marinara over al dente pasta tossed lightly with EVOO then finished with fresh grated Parmesan. 

I sounds like a lot more effort than it's worth, huh?  Not so much. Consider that if you make the marinara (see my recipe here) in advance, the entire preparation can be done in about 45 minutes.  I promise, you'll never think about meatballs the same ever again.

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