As great a meal as it is, I actually don’t make it that often. But last week, my youngest son asked me to make it for his birthday. I decided to make then with all fresh herbs a mixture of ground beef and ground pork to make them extra flavorful.
Also, I don’t like to use regular bread crumbs that you buy in the grocery store (although I do like panko). Instead, I like to use a piece or two of regular sandwich bread, turn it into bread crumbs, and then cover it in milk. This adds moisture and body to the meatballs.
2 pieces white sandwich bread
1/2 cup milk
1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound ground pork (about 20/80 lean/fat)
3-4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons tomato sauce
1 egg, lightly beaten.
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place breadcrumbs in a large bowl and cover with milk. Let sit for a minute or two for the bread to soak up the milk. Add in all the rest of the ingredients, and use two forks to break up the meat. Mix lightly until well combined, but try not to overwork the mixture.
2. Scoop out meatballs with an retractable ice cream scoop (I used a 2 tablespoon size), and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes (longer for bigger meatballs), or until cooked through. Serve in your favorite tomato sauce, or the one that follows.
Easy Spaghetti Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup beef broth
1 bay leaf
5-6 fresh bay leaves, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1. In a large high sided skillet set over medium low heat, cook onions in the oil until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes. Add in the rest of the ingredients—minus half of the basil— and lower the heat. Simmer slowly until flavors come together. Garnish with the rest of the basil. Serve with meatballs, your favorite pasta, and parmesan cheese.