Italian Meatballs - Red Sauce Likes a Party

Spaghetti and Meatballs - what could be more American?  It sure ain't Italian!  But it sure is a family favorite.

A while back I wrote a post about Red Sauce.   If I could figure out how to make a link to it, I'd make your life easier.  Otherwise, look under "Sauces" or "Ramblings" if you are so inclined.

Italian Meatballs ought to be moist and garlicky and flavorful, with plenty of cheese and eggs and fresh parsley.  If you think it's fun to stand and fry them in oil in a skillet, then go for it.  If you have better ways to spend your 30 minutes, try oven-browning.  Less mess, less work, all done at once.  They cook til "barely done" and then finish up in the big pot of Red Sauce.

Most every meatball I can find in the freezer section of the grocery store is full of MSG or soy or other funk.  Why, oh, why, can't they just be simple and good?  No one really knows the answer to this mystery.  So make your own.  Do you really not have 20 minutes to mix up and shape the meat into cute little rounds?  While you're at it, make a double or triple batch and freeze some.  These can be used in sandwiches, quartered and used as pizza topping, sliced and added to lasagna or other baked pasta.  Heck, I'd shape the whole mess of meat mixture into a loaf for some tasty Italian Meatloaf.  Slathered in Red Sauce, of course.

Below is a single recipe.  It makes about 24-26, 1-inch meatballs.  You can make whatever size balls you like - the huge ones are fun, they just take a bit longer to bake.  Tiny ones can go straight into baked pasta without slicing.  One inch is a great size for spaghetti. 

Serve with a good sauce, pass the grated Parm and let your kids slurp and slop the noodles however they choose.  Life is short and dinner should be fun.  If your family walks away from this meal perfectly clean, something is wrong.  And it's not with them :)

Where's my Chianti?

Italian Meatballs

1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup bread crumbs or Panko
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1/4 cup fresh chopped Italian parsley
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
plenty of freshly ground black pepper
olive oil for the baking sheet

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix all ingredients (except oil) in a big bowl with your HANDS, but gently.  Shape into 1 inch balls, or whatever size suits your needs.  Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet, 1/2 inch apart. 

Bake for 20-30 minutes (20 if they will simmer in sauce, 30 to fully cook).  Remove from baking sheet and either cool and freeze, or add to your pot of sauce, or slice for pizza or pasta, you choose. 

Makes 2 dozen meatballs.

Baked and ready for a swim in the pot.

Saucy and Sassy.