Classic Italian: Cook beef meatballs in tomato sauce
For generations, Italians have taken pride in their families’ recipes for meatballs and tomato sauce. Here, the Meatball Guys pass on their approach to the classic dish.
Makes 7 cups
- 1 small yellow onion
- 1 bay leaf (fresh or dry)
- 1 sprig fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dry
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 2 28-ounce cans tomatoes
Cook the onions, with the olive oil, oregano, bay, garlic and salt over a medium heat in a large pot, stirring constantly until soft and translucent (about 15 minutes). Add the tomato paste and continue cooking for five minutes. Add the canned tomatoes and stir constantly until the sauce begins to boil. Continue cooking for 1 hour stirring every four or five minutes such that the sauce does not burn. Season with extra salt to taste.
Makes about 24 meatballs
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon chile flake
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed, ground
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
- 1 tablespoon oregano, chopped
- 1cup fresh ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine all of the ingredients except for the olive oil in a large mixing bowl and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated. Drizzle the olive oil into a large baking dish, making sure to evenly coat the entire surface. Roll the mixture into round, golf ball sized meatballs making sure to pack the meat firmly. Place the balls into the oiled baking dish such that all of the meatballs are lined up evenly in rows and are touching each of their four neighbors in a grid. Roast until firm and cooked through, about 20 minutes. While the meatballs are roasting, heat 4 cups classic tomato sauce in a small pot over a medium-high flame, stirring constantly. When the meatballs are firm and fully cooked, drain the excess grease from the pan then poor the tomato sauce over them and continue roasting for another 14 minutes.