I’m a big fan of meatballs. A pot of pasta sauce gently bubbling with meatballs is one of those Sunday Dinners that I love. In fact, I’m cooking this now for tonight’s Memorial Day family dinner while I do my laundry. It’s a dish that can cook while you do other things.
Over the years, I’ve been tweaking a recipe. Recently, I think that I’ve found the one I like. Here it is. It’s a big recipe and will serve 12 people. I make enough for both Sunday Dinner and for Monday, too.
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 a bunch of Italian parsley, chopped
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
2 lbs. of ground beef
1 lb. of ground pork
1 lb. of ground turkey
1 tablespoon of coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs or cornmeal
1 tablespoon of basil
1 tablespoon of oregano
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne
1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 cup of red or white wine that you’d drink
1 cup of boxed chicken broth
1 28 oz. can of Cento San Marzano tomatoes
1 24 oz. bottle of Cento San Marzano Passata tomato sauce
Sautée the vegetables over medium heat with olive oil, until the onions are translucent. Put in the freezer until cool.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together 1/2 of the vegetables, all of the meat, the egg, salt, pepper, bread crumbs or cornmeal, and half of the basil, oregano, cayenne and nutmeg. Mix together. Form 24 or so meatballs.
Heat up a large dutch oven pot over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and fry the meatballs in batches until brown. Set aside.
Add the wine to the empty dutch oven pot, gently scraping all of the good brown stuff with a wooden spatula. Add the chicken broth. Raise the heat and simmer the sauce until reduced by 1/2.
Crush the San Marzano tomatoes by hand and add to the dutch oven. Add the Passata. Add the remaining vegetables and herbs and spices. Stir until mixed. Add the meatballs.
Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Gently simmer for two to three hours. Skim off any fat. Adjust with salt and pepper, as needed.
Serve over warm pasta and Parmigiano Reggiano.