Meg Makes: A pair of methods for tasty meatballs
My husband, Rob, is half Italian and happens to have come from a family with a killer meatball recipe. It's the dinner I request that he make for special occasions, including my birthday.
Rob says you can either fry or cook these meatballs in a red sauce, and I heartily approve of both methods. He often makes a big batch of meatballs and cooks some using both methods, for variety. The boiled ones are so deliciously tender (and will also lend their fat content to your red sauce), but the fried ones develop a wonderful crunch on their outsides. If you fry them, though, I highly recommend a pan screen, which keeps hot oil from coating your stove (and forearms).
We also use real Parmesan for this recipe. Rob likes to buy a wedge and use a handheld zester-grater on it when making these meatballs. If you're short on time, though, I'm sure the pre-shredded or grated stuff will work just fine.
2 pounds 80 percent lean ground beef
1 cup plain bread crumbs
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 tablespoon dried basil
1 heaping teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Mix ingredients. The combination should be soft. If it's too thick, add water. Form into golf-ball-size meatballs. If frying, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a skillet, and cook meatballs to a safe temperature (160 degrees), turning occasionally to prevent burning.
If you want to make a sauce to cook them in, try this:
SAUCE FOR MEATBALLS
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 15.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon Italian seasonings (or more to taste)
Combine in a large pot and heat to boiling. Add meatballs and continue boiling until meatballs are cooked to a safe temperature. Cook pasta separately, and after draining, add to sauce-and-meatball pot, stirring gently to coat the pasta.
Meg Dickinson is a local communications professional who spends many of her waking hours daydreaming about food. To submit a recipe for her consideration, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.