A friend of mine is “all laid up” in the hospital and I’m taking her and her family a meal today. A couple of years ago, I discovered Barefoot Contessa’s Real Meatballs and Spaghetti recipe. This is the PERFECT dish to make for other folks.
1. This recipe makes A LOT of meatballs. I can give some away and reserve some for my family to eat during the week. dingdingding
2. The meal can work for all ages! For example, I plan to pack hoagie rolls, provolone cheese slices, meatballs with sauce, and some elbow noodles (cooked). This way, the little one can have some spaghetti and the grownups can have meatball sandwiches. dingdingding
3. Final reason that meatballs are a great idea? Um, they are delicious.
So let’s get right to the recipe. I adapted from (no shocker, here) Barefoot Contessa’s Real Meatballs & Spaghetti recipe.
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1 cup fresh white bread crumbs (I used some handy dandy stuffing cubes I found at Whole Foods)
1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1.4 cup finely grated Pecorino-Romano
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 extra-large egg, beaten
3/4 cup of warm water
Place the ground meats, both bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, Pecorino, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg, and 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl. Combine with your hands (it’s the only way). Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 2-inch meatballs. You will have 14 to 16 meatballs.
CONFESSION: I completely left out the warm water, which explains my confusion as to why the mixture was so dry as I was mixing it. Good news….meatballs are still good even if you left out the water.
Barefoot Contessa prefers to brown hers in a pan. I prefer to put those bad boys on a pan coated with olive oil and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until temperature reaches 165 degrees. Just watch them. Mine got a little brown this time and I blame that whole leaving out the water bit…
While the meatballs are cooking, I make the sauce...
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 cup chopped sweet onion (1 onion)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup red wine (I used a sweet red wine)
1 (28-ounce) can fire roasted whole tomatoes, chopped
1 (14-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the sauce, heat the olive oil in large pan. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
Add the wine and cook on high heat until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper. CONFESSION: Totally didn’t realize the wine was supposed to evaporate before I added the tomatoes. So no worries if you mess that part up because the sauce totally survives!
Once the meatballs are done, add them to the sauce, cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 10 minutes.
Serve hot on cooked spaghetti
Serve as meatball subs
Take all of the above to a friend!
Now for the second recipe: Meatball Sub!
In high school, I worked at Blimpie Subs & Salad where I learned the art of making sandwiches. I don’t mean to brag, but if you give me a hoagie roll or a pita pocket, I’m going to take it d-o-w-n. Here’s my TOP secret meatball sub secret:
1 hoagie roll (I prefer Cobblestone Mill’s sandwich hoagies. Note: I’m not using those rolls in the photos below)
2 slices of provolone cheese
Little bit of sauce
* You can also add diced jalapenos, some dijon mustard, or whatever else your heart desires
Take hoagie roll and make a slit on the side. Do NOT cut entirely through as you want there to be a pocket. Like this…
Put one slice of provolone cheese at the bottom of the hoagie.
Add 3 meatballs and a little sauce (make sure the meatballs and sauce are hot ;you don’t want the hoagies to get soggy so watch the amount you add).
Add the other provolone slice.
Bake in oven under a broiler for 3 – 5 minutes, but watch closely. You just want the cheese to melt and top of bread to be lightly toasted. (Or you can bake at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes)