Sunday, July 8, 2012

Meatballs in Marinara

It's hot outside. Let's make something that does not require the use of the oven, shall we? Nothing makes me say Mmmm louder than a good meatball. I was thrilled to see this recipe from "Can you stay for dinner" because it didn't require pre-frying the meatballs before placing them into the sauce. The raw meatballs are submerged in the marinara and slow simmered for an hour. The flavor of the meatballs ooze out into the sauce making it more flavorful. Brilliant!

The original recipe says it yields 15 meatballs, but I was able to get 24 1 inch balls. Serve these with pasta and a chunk of focaccia bread (recipe here). Or you can skip the pasta all together and make meatball marinara subs topped with mozzarella cheese. I'm really glad I have leftover meatballs in the fridge :)

Meatballs and Sauce
adapted from Can You Stay For Dinner  

For the marinara:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 28oz can crushed or ground, peeled tomatoes
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 tablespoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

For the meatballs:
3/4 lb ground beef (80-85% lean)
2 Italian sausage links, mild or hot, casings remove
1 egg
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs

2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper

Make the sauce:

Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan completely. Add the onion and garlic and saute, stirring occasionally, for about 7 minutes, until golden browned, but not burned.

Once the onions and garlic are tender and caramel in color, add the crushed tomatoes and the tomato paste and stir until the mixture is smooth and well combined.

Add the remaining ingredients (oregano through pepper), stir, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Lower the heat to the lowest setting, cover and let cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the bottom does not burn.

Make the meatballs:
Mix the beef and sausage in a large mixing bowl. Lightly beat the egg in a small bowl and then pour over meat. Sprinkle the bread crumbs, oregano, salt, and pepper over the meat mixture and use your hands to blend the whole mixture until all ingredients are incorporated. Be careful not to over mix.

Shape the meat mixture into about 24 1” balls. Drop into the sauce, stir gently so that they’re all covered in sauce, and then let them cook, covered, for about 45 minutes to 1 hour over low heat. Stir the pot occasionally to prevent burning.

Serve with pasta or hot, crusty bread.

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