Perfect Meatballs (Polpette di Carne)
There are a thousand ways to make meatballs, but these are unique in that I use a mixture of ground beef and Italian sausage for the base and the flavor is incredible! They slow simmer for two hours in a red wine infused tomato sauce where the flavors mingle and when they're done, it's hard to tell where the meatball ends and the sauce begins! Sometimes, I serve them with spaghetti or bucatini but often times I just plop the sauce pan down in the middle of the table alongside a loaf of hot, crusty french bread and dinner is served! Tips:I prefer to use 85% percent ground beef, 15% fat. It makes for a more tender meatball, but if you are health conscious, feel free to substitute with 92% lean.Pull the meat out of the fridge half an hour before you are going to use it. It makes it easier to combine the ingredients without over mixing, yielding a softer, more tender result.This recipe yields about 18 two inch meatballs. When I make these, I like to stock up! They freeze well. If you choose to freeze them, brown the meatballs, bake them in a preheated 350 degree oven for about fifteen minutes, or until cooked through. Let them cool and then freeze.
- 1 1/2 lb ground beef
- 1 1/2 lb Italian sausage, (mild or spicy), casings removed
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1/2 tspn salt, divided
- pepper qb
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup Parmiggiano Reggiano, grated
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup fresh chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup water
For the sauce
- 2/3 cup red wine
- 2 (24 ounce) jars San Marzano tomato sauce (passata di pomodoro)
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/4 tspn salt
- 1 tspn dry oregano
- fresh basil for garnish
- fresh Italian flat leaf parsley for garnish
- To begin, coat a saute pan with olive oil and bring to medium low heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook until soft and translucent.
- Add the garlic and saute for a couple of minutes. Turn off heat and allow the mixture to cool.
- Put the ground beef and sausage in a large bowl and use your hands to combine the meat. It should be well combined, but try not to overmix.
- Add the eggs, Parmigiano-Reggiano, parsley, bread crumbs, and water.
- Add the onion mixture and season with salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix until combined.
- Test the seasoning of the mixture by making a small meatball and tasting it.
- Shape the meatballs.
- Coat a large, heavy bottomed pot with olive oil and bring to medium-low heat. Brown the meatballs on all sides. Don't be afraid to let them get some color, it adds immense flavor!
- Remove the meatballs from the pan and set aside.
- Deglaze the pan with red wine, loosening the brown bits with a wooden spoon.
- Add the tomato sauce and water.
- Season with salt, pepper and dried oregano.
- Return the meatballs and juices to the pan. Cover and simmer for two hours over low heat so the flavors can mingle, and you're ready serve!