I knew last night would be intense, considering it was the big Chelsea and Barcelona game. No, I’m not a footballer but my husband definitely is, and just in case he’d be sulking around the house if Chelsea lost, I wanted to cook something I knew he’d enjoy (Thank God, they won, though! ). This recipe is quite an important one in my house – the sauce and meatballs were given to me by a good Italian friend in college, who’s grandmother had taught it to her. Although the sauce remains a bit of a “secret recipe” I keep in my dusted tiny book in the corner shelf of my kitchen, the meatball recipe is a staple I think every kitchen should have. It’s absolutely fabulous and, the great thing about meatballs, it can be cooked a few different ways. I opt for the classic meatballs and sauce, but if you like, you could always bake them, make a meatball sandwich or add gravy. It’s quite a flexible and delicious recipe!
1 package of good ground beef, not lean (I go for 75 or 80 percent)
1 medium-sized egg
1/3 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/4 cup of bread crumbs
1/4 cup fresh parsley
3 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
few dashes of cooking wine
pinch of salt and pepper
You want to begin preparing your meatballs while your sauce is cooking on low. Real Italian sauce takes roughly 2-4 hours to make, depending on how large the size and how low you set the heat while cooking it (the lower and the longer the better). As soon as I get my sauce going, I begin by dumping all the ingredients into a large bowl. Then, it’s time to get your hands dirty. Begin by mixing together all the ingredients with your hands – make sure everything is pretty well squished together and integrated. Then form into one large ball. Start rolling your balls – you can do this by hand, but I use a meatball maker I purchased last summer (and just adore)! You want to roll each ball to be roughly 5 cm each. Once complete, warm a pan that you used to put meat into your sauce earlier (the extra fat and oils from the previous meat add a lot of taste) – if you hadn’t added extra meat to your sauce, a pan with vegetable oil is just fine. You want to make sure the pan is fairly hot before you start with 3-5 balls at a time, since you need the space to roll them around. Around this time the pan should be smoking, which is a good sign. Remember, you’re only trying to cook the outside of the balls, the inside will cook slowly in the sauce. As each ball is complete, drop it into the sauce, as the extra oil also adds taste to the sauce. Brew into your sauce for at least another half hour – and that’s it!
The results are just gorgeous – beautiful meatballs and sauce piled on fresh pasta, it’s such an incredible guilty pleasure. Thankfully, the night went well with football so the hefty dinner was a great way to end the night. Another great perk about this recipe, is because it’s so large, you can always take the sauce and meatballs and freeze them into individual baggies. So, whenever you’re craving some fresh sauce and meatballs, just pop one into a pot on the stove, and you have a delicious home-made meal in a few minutes.