Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I had to use an exclamation point in the header--my husband will do just about anything for a meatball.  I make meatballs in several different ways.  The recipe that follows has become my family's favorite meatball.  This make approximately 36 meatballs; I keep half out and put half into the freezer.  Feel free to double the recipe (I often do).  Meatballs are a lot of work.  When I double this I always have my husband hand to help me roll them or be a set of clean hands.

  • 1lb 80/20 ground beef
  • 1lb mild Italian sausage
  • 1 1/2c. diced onion (1 large onion)
  • 1 roasted red bell pepper, peeled, seeded and diced (3/4c)**
  • 1TBSP minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 3oz. chopped fresh spinach (about 4c)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1c. ricotta
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan
  • 1/2c. bread crumbs
  •  1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 TBSP Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 TBSP basil
  • 1/4 tsp chili flake
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
In a large non stick pan saute' the onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat.  When the onion is softened add the spinach, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, basil, red bell pepper and chili flake.  Saute' until the spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes.  Move off the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
While your veggies are wilting put the beef, sausage, egg, ricotta, Parmesan and bread crumbs in a LARGE bowl.  Once your veggies are cool to the touch add them to the bowl.  Using your hands (there's just really no way around this) mix all the ingredients together well, but do not over mix.  Make sure to break up any lumps of sausage and beef.
Once everything is incorporated you're ready to roll (hahaha).  I use a 1.5" ice cream scoop (about 1/8c sized) to make sure that each meatball is the same size.  Set your newly formed meatballs on a baking sheet or 9x13 pan.  They should just touch. 

Now comes the trick to nice round meatballs.  Pop them into the freezer for 30 minutes.  This is a softer meatball, freezing them helps them keep their shape while baking.
While your meatballs are baking preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Once they've firmed up put them in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.
How you serve them is up to you.  I usually refrigerate them until about an hour before dinner and then I let them simmer in marinara for about an hour.  Serve them over spaghetti or in a bread heel and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

**To roast your bell pepper you've got a few options.  You can a) crank the grill up to high and allow them to char on each side for 3-5 minutes, until the skin is charred and the pepper sizzles b) do the same thing directly on a gas burner of your stove or c) do the same thing in your broiler.  Once you've charred them put them in a bowl and cover with saran wrap for 5 minutes.  This lets the steam from the peppers loosen any un-charred skin.
If this doesn't sound like something you'd like to tackle you can purchase jarred roasted bell peppers from the grocery store.

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