April 13, 2014

Italian Style Meatballs


    Meatballs are the kind of food that brings happiness.  Daily I am asked “What’s for dinner?” and when I reply meatballs and…….it doesn’t matter what the second part is -- the questioner is instantly happy on the word meatballs – “yummmm.” 
    As a child, commercially pressed hamburgers were more common than hand formed meatballs.  Meatballs were part of our special homemade spaghetti sauce dinners where the sauce bubbled all day on the stove top.  Dad would fry them on the stove top versus baking in the oven. My sister reminded me of our father’s perfectly shaped meatballs and his penchant for frying the meatballs, as with many things he cooked, on high and the grease spattering. 
     While I love a tasty meatball, I do not favor all the handwork involved so I have a method that reduces the hand rolling time by using my graduated size cookie scoop to begin the molding process.  I have three sizes of scoops and I most often use the 1 ½ tablespoon middle size but sometimes I like the small (2 teaspoons) size for fun marble size meatballs and rarely do I make the larger size.
     Meatball recipes have many variations – my ideal Italian style meatball is moist, mildly spiced, and compliments mainly a red sauce and must be cooked in the oven.   

Makes around 20 meatballs

1 pound of ground beef
2/3 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup of fresh bread crumbs
¼ cup milk
1/3 cup of finely chopped onions (optional)
1 celery stick finely chopped (optional)
Chopped fresh parsley (optional)
1 teaspoon Italian blend spices or spice mix of your choice – basil is nice
1 egg slightly beaten
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F°.
Combine the ingredients with your hands being careful not to overmix.
Shape into walnut size or larger balls.
Place in baking dish.
Bake for 20 minutes or until done. 

Loosen meatballs and drain off accumulated oil.  

Serve with spaghetti and red sauce:
quick and easy red sauce





My sister's photo from Northern Italy - a view she saw eating lasagne from a cafe in Brunate.

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