Classic Meatballs

By the time this blog posts, I’ll be home for the holidays and if all goes well, the world will not have ended. Despite the overload of Italian food I’m about to inhale eat over the next six days, I decided to whip up some meatballs for our last dinner at home. For me, rustic Italian dishes have always been synonymous with the holidays and a hearty bowl of meatballs is a great stick-to-your-ribs meal that keeps you warm and fuzzy inside for hours.

This recipe is nothing fancy. It’s nothing you haven’t seen before. These are your grandmother’s meatballs; that is if your grandmother used Panko instead of your run-of-the-mill breadcrumbs. And, of course, that’s also assuming that your grandmother made meatballs. I just have this habit of assuming that everyone grew up with the quintessential Italian nonna (and I feel sorry for anyone who tells me they didn’t).

But the bottom line is that nothing fancy can be awfully yummy, so bust out that bottle of cheap red wine and get simmering! This recipe calls for an “Italian” cup of it. If you don’t know what that means, start pouring and when it smells like a bad hangover, add another splash and then stop.

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Classic Meatballs

  • EVOO
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 28 oz canned tomato sauce
  • 15 oz canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 “Italian” cup red wine
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 bunch scallions, chipped and divided
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • 3 cups pasta, cooked to al dente

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

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Saute up the onion in some oil with salt and pepper until it is soft and translucent. While it’s cooking, combine the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, wine, garlic powder, oregano and half of the scallions in a large Dutch oven. Bring the sauce up to a simmer and add the onions when they are cooked.

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Combine the remaining scallions, breadcrumbs, cheese, eggs and meat in a large bowl. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and make sure that everything is evenly mixed. Roll the mixture into 1 inch meatballs. Heat more oil in the pan and brown the meatballs on all sides. Once browned, add them to the sauce.

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Deglaze the pan with the water. Scrape up all the flavorful brown bits and add them to the sauce along with the bouillon cubes. Bake the meatballs for 20 minutes. Before serving, toss the pasta into the mix and then dig in.

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