Sunday, March 18, 2007

On top of spagheeeeeeetti...

Frozen prepared meatballs, even if from Trader Joe's, will ruin home-canned marinara sauce. Nasty.

Don't make the same mistake I just did. Make your own 'balls.
My mom is the inspiration here. She taught me how to make these, and I've tried my best to make them my own.

Here's how I do it:


Lean ground beef (1 lb or so)
One egg
Progresso Italian Seasoned breadcrumbs
Romano or Parmesan cheese, in crumbs rather than shredded.
Garlic 2-3 cloves, minced or crushed
Parsley, minced...a goodly amount

Mix the meat and egg together. Toss in the minced or pressed garlic and a couple of handfuls of parsley. Add equal amounts of bread crumbs and cheese until the texture of the meat mixture is no longer sticky from the egg, but not dry either.

Form into balls, say about 2 inches in diameter? I'm a smaller-but-more-of-'em 'balls gal myself. I have seen people who prefer one big ball, but I don't swing that way. I think it's kind of weird, actually.*

Place on a cookie sheet and place into a hot oven (temperature? I have no idea. I'm not really much help, am I? I'd probably put it at about 350-375-400ยบ or so).

Cook until WELL browned. Take out at some point and rotate them around. Some people will think they're overdone the way I like them. However, there's a reason for my doing so. First, if you don't use lean beef, it will cook more of the fat out. Secondly, and more importantly to me, 'balls that are brown, brown, brown will have more flavor to them. Kind of like how you'd rather grill a steak than boil it in water. They both end up cooked, but are NOTHING like one another. If you want them not to be dry, you can of course cook them less. Since I put the 'balls in the sauce and cook them for a while, they aren't dry by the time I'm done with them. And the sauce has that good meat flavor to it.

Or maybe that's what they call Umami...

All I know is that I'll never buy meatballs ready-made again. Blech.

*But then again, I'm the one making sexual innuendo about meatballs...