While making a grocery list yesterday, I took a minute to peruse the recipe index on the blog for a few meal ideas for the upcoming week. During said search, two facts become abundantly clear: No. 1, we eat a lot of cookies. And No. 2, if our lives took place in Land Before Time, we’d be on Team Tree Stars.
Let this post be a break from the norm! (And proof to our respective parents that we do, in fact, consume protein on occasion.) Jared and I first saw this recipe for classic beef meatballs on an episode of The Martha Stewart Show last year. It’s another one from The Meatball Shop Cookbook — actually, it was this recipe that spurred us to buy the cookbook — and it’s an awesome, easy way to make homemade meatballs that taste like they took a lot of time and effort. There’s no browning. No frying. These guys are made entirely in the oven. They’re great on pasta, great on polenta and great in a meatball sandwich (says Jared).
Yep, these meatballs can make magic and move mountains. Now if only they could bring back my Martha show. Humph.
Classic Beef Meatballs
From The Meatball Shop Cookbook (Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow, p. 4)
[Note: I usually half this recipe, and it makes plenty of meatballs for the two of us, with lots leftover.]
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 pounds ground beef (80 percent lean is ideal.)
• 1 cup ricotta cheese
• 2 eggs
• ½ cup breadcrumbs (I usually use panko.)
• ¼ cup chopped parsley
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
• 2 teaspoons kosher salt
• ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
• ½ teaspoon ground fennel* (I’ve actually never added the fennel to ours, but I bet it’s good.)
• 4 cups of your favorite tomato sauce, either jarred or homemade
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Drizzle the olive oil evenly in a 9-by-13-inch baking pan and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta, eggs, breadcrumbs, parsley, oregano, salt, red pepper flakes and fennel (if using) until well blended. Add the beef, and mix until it’s fully incorporated.
Roll the mixture into golf ball-sized balls, and place them in the prepared pan. Make sure they’re in there snuggly and in even rows, both vertically and horizontally.
Roast the meatballs for 20 minutes, until they’re firm and cooked through (internal temperature should read 165 degrees F). Remove the pan from the oven, and drain the excess fat. Pour the tomato sauce over the top of the meatballs, and return the pan to the oven for another 15 minutes.
Does anyone else have a favorite meatball recipe? Maybe something from your family that’s been passed down for generations? Or maybe another savory dish is more your style. What’s your favorite food to round out your weekly menu?