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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cheesy Meatballs

When I found the recipe for these Cheesy Meatballs on Tasty Kitchen, I put that on my "to try very, very soon" list, and that is what ended up on the menu for tonight. I've never been a big fan of meatballs, but then again, I've never really had many good quality ones. I've never made spaghetti with meatballs at home because of my indifference towards them, but I have made subs a handful of times. I had no intentions of making subs for dinner, but when the hubs walked in the house and said "oh, wow, meatball subs for dinner?" that sold me.

This recipe is intended to be served as spaghetti (hence the one pound of spaghetti it calls for...) but I wasn't too crazy about the sauce at first. I added a few things to the sauce to doctor it up, such as oregano, a bay leaf, and even a little bit of brown sugar, but I still wasn't sold. After we decided to do subs instead, I just let the sauce/meatballs simmer on the stove on low heat for a long while until it was dinner time, and once it was time to eat, my sauce ended up thicker and sweeter and oh so good! I cut up a loaf of french bread to serve it on, and topped the subs with shredded mozzarella and put it in the broiler for a few minutes, and ta-da! Amazing meatball subs! The meatballs were so soft and tender, not to the point where it crumbles, but way better than any I've ever prepared. And the gooey mozzarella center?? That was the icing on the cake! Or in the cake, I suppose. I promise you I will be making these again and again, and you should too!
Cheesy Meatballs
Serves 6-8

Meatballs:
1 pound ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cups fresh parsley, chopped finely
1/4 cups white onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cups bread crumbs
1 1/2 teaspoons sage
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, smoked or fresh; cut into cubes
1/4 cup olive oil
Sauce:
3/4 cups white onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cups white wine
2 28oz. cans chopped peeled tomatoes
pinch of salt and black pepper
8 leaves basil
1 pound thin spaghetti

1. First make the meatballs. Combine the beef, bread crumbs, eggs, parmigiano cheese, the 2 cloves minced garlic, parsley, 1/4 of a large white onion (approximately 1/4 cup worth), salt, and pepper. While you are rolling out the meatballs, tuck a small cube of mozzarella in the center.

2. On medium heat, place the 1/2 cup olive oil into your pan. I use my biggest frying pan. When the olive oil is hot, brown until all sides are crusty and dark brown. Don’t overcrowd the pan or the meatballs will steam rather than brown. They don’t need to be quite cooked all the way through, just browned nicely as they will finish cooking in the sauce later. Set the meatballs aside for now.

3. Place the other 3/4 of the chopped onion in to saute in the olive oil left over from frying the meatballs. When they begin to look translucent, add two to three garlic cloves and saute for another minute or two. Throw a dash of white wine in to deglaze the pan, although you can skip this step. Add the canned tomatoes (with juices) stir in the salt and pepper, and heat until sauce simmers. Lower the heat and cook for about a half hour to reduce slightly.
It’s at this time I begin boiling water for the noodles. When you have a rolling boil, add salt to flavor the water. Add the thin spaghetti.

4. Place all the meatballs back in the sauce. Over low heat, this will cook the meatballs the rest of the way through. Add torn basil leaves, taste your sauce to see if you need more seasoning.and simmer for another 20 minutes.

5. Meatballs come out of the sauce, and cooked pasta goes in. Toss the spaghetti in the sauce, add the meatballs and you’re ready to go. Serve with a nice green salad or crusty bread.

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