I think everyone raised in an Italian-American family learns how to cook meatballs. They were a staple in my childhood and although you can buy them at your local grocer, I prefer to make my own. I think they taste better and are a far healthier alternative. I usually make meatballs on the weekend and refrigerate them so I can have them through the week; they always seem to taste even better a few days later anyway.
Prep and cooking time is approximately 1 hour and this recipe will make ~18 meatballs. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Listed below are the ingredients. Note that the following are missing from the list: 1 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of pepper, 1 tsp of Italian seasoning (all combined) as well as 2 garlic cloves minced which I include with the onion and finally 1/4 cup of water.I like to separate the ingredients as depicted above, place the meat in a large mixing container and combine all the ingredients at the same time. Kneed the ingredients together until everything is fully incorporated. Once combined, I like to cover and let it rest for 5-10 minutes so the liquids can be absorbed.Roll out the meatballs by hand and try to keep them to 1.5″ in diameter. If they are much larger they are more likely to fall apart and lose their shape due to the amount of moisture. I find it easier to make all the meatballs at once then put them into a pan on high heat with olive oil. By searing the meatballs on all sides for a minute or less will help the meatball retain its shape while cooking.In a baking dish add a minimal amount of red sauce before adding the seared meatballs. This will prevent them from sticking to the dish while cooking in the oven. I add red sauce and sprinkle cheese on top of each meatball.
Cover with foil and cook for 20 minutes (note larger meatballs may require longer cooking time). Take the foil off and let cook for another 10 minutes, after removing from the oven let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Hints: - I like to have extra red sauce made when serving meatballs. Earlier this month I shared a recipe for an eggplant red sauce, but use whatever you like. - I use mushrooms because they add so much flavor and incorporate into the meat better than any other vegetable and it helps make them lighter (avoiding “food coma” that can result from a heavy meat dish) - If you prefer to add some heat to this recipe, include a tsp of crushed red pepper flakes for each pound of meat used and use a spicy marinara red sauce.