Meatballs for Pasta

makes 8 large meatballs, nutrition facts for one meatball.

Ingredients:

1 lb lean ground grass fed beef
1 slice of whole wheat bread, torn into small pieces
1/8 cup milk
1 egg
2-4 t ground garlic (see note)
1 t ground onion
1 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried or 1 T fresh parsley
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup (or more) of your favorite hard Italian cheese, grated or shredded

Spoon Mage™ Note:

Meatballs for pasta are different than soup meatballs – 1) soup meatballs are much smaller and 2) they need to be a little firmer.

To use this recipe for meatball soup use prepared bread crumbs instead of fresh bread and by roll little bite sized meatballs. Or double this recipe to make Meatball Pie!

Garlic is a very individual thing. Some love it and some do not. If you love garlic, use 4 teaspoons. If you are sensitive to it, use 2 teaspoons.

Parmesan, Romano or any of the variations of hard Italian cheese – sharp or mild – is totally your preference. I prefer Parmigiano Reggiano, but really, the choice is yours. What’s in your fridge? Use what you have handy.

If you are doubling this recipe, use one pound of good natural ground pork with the pound of hamburger.

Yes, if you wish you may pan brown them. I don’t for two reasons – 1) the mess and 2) I always end up with meat rectangles and blogs instead of meat balls. You may have better frying skills than I and if you prefer, go ahead and cook them that way.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Spray the pan with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, tear the bread into small pieces and stir in the milk. Wait five minutes. The breadcrumbs will soak up the milk which should not run freely in the bowl.

Add the egg and seasonings, mixing with your hand. Add the cheese and mix again.

By now your hands are gloriously messy, but you’re not done yet!

Add the beef and mix it all using that messy hand until the bits are all nicely and evenly incorporated. Do not over smash the meat as that will make your meatballs tough. If you were a bit heavy handed with the cheese or used more than a pound of meat, you may need to add a splash more of milk to keep the meat from becoming dry. The mixture should be slightly damp.

Inhale. Salivate. Yes, the aroma should make you hungry even before cooking. If you don’t notice the garlic, you may need to add more. There’s always room for more garlic.

Shape the meat mixture into large balls and arrange in the pan.

Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until they start to accumulate lovely brown bits on the bottom and the meat is cooked throughout.

The length of cook time depends on the size of the meatball. There is no need whatsoever to overcook them in the oven if you are going to simmer them in sauce, so don’t fret the time. If you want super browned meatballs, flip them over after they brown on the bottom and continue to bake until they are fully cooked.

Use tongs to lift the meatballs out of the fat and nestle them gently in a large pot. Cover with your favorite sauce and simmer until dinner.

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