I come from a line of very good cooks and every single one of them was self-taught. My father is 100% Italian and growing up food was an “event”, not just a “meal”. I am also fortunate that my Mother’s side of the family are awesome in the kitchen as well! Needless to say, I grew up surrounded by culinary inspiration everywhere I turned.
FULL DISCLAIMER: I rarely EVER follow recipes and if I do, I always “tweak” them. So, although I followed this recipe as it was printed, I always add a little more of this or that and you should do the same! This particular recipe is actually very good as is, so don’t worry if you follow recipes to a “T”;).
Cooking is not like baking, you can throw a little of this and that and as long as your taste buds are alive it will be fine;) Everyone’s palate is different. My family’s favorite dishes are always the ones that I throw together, never the ones that are from a recipe (except this one)!
My husband loves meatball anything and I never really make them…too time consuming and when I did they were just “OK” (even though I am a pretty good cook if I do say so myself;). But, this recipe caught my attention with the addition of ground pork which I never added before, so I gave it a try! Well….OMG they were THE BEST MEATBALLS EVER!!!!
My late paternal Grandmother(from Italy) made some mean meatballs, but I must say these might be a close second;) Unfortunately, I cannot find where I got this recipe….So I apologize in advance to the chef who came up with this deliciousness! For low-carb eaters just don’t eat this with pasta, you really don’t miss it;) I know it has breadcrumbs, but that’s it for the carbs! We usually eat this with a salad on the side.
My husband didn’t come up for air after I made these and the sauce was easy peasy and so delicious! I make sure I make these at least every other week. As a matter of fact, it is time I made them again;)
Without further adieu…..Mozzarella Meatballs
1 pound of ground pork (this is a must…no substitutions!)
1 pound ground beef (85% lean)
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (I use what I have on hand usually Italian, up to you)
1/2 cup finely grated pecorino (or parmegiano whatever you have)
1 1/2 t coarse salt
2 large eggs
1 clove garlic-minced (I use more b/c we are garlic freaks!)
1/4 cup chopped FRESH flat-leaf parsley
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 small onion, finely chopped (I grate it)
Pinch of red-pepper flakes
1 Can (28oz.) SAN MARZANO whole peeled tomatoes, pureed IT IS IMPORTANT TO USE SAN MARZANO…for the best taste. You can use what you have, but I can’t promise the sauce will taste as good;)
4 leaves fresh basil (optional)
8 oz. FRESH MOZZARELLA, thinly sliced. Use fresh people :)
1. Using your hands, gently mix together pork, beef, breadcrumbs, pecorino, salt, eggs, garlic, and parsley in a large bowl. Form mixture into 2 inch balls.**Of note: I actually grate the onion into the meatballs for a juicier meatball instead of using it in the sauce. I think it adds more flavor, but you do what you want;)
2. Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet ( I use a dutch-oven) over medium-high heat. Add meatballs;cook,turning, until browned all over, about 10 min. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate.
3. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion and pepper flakes; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender, about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes and basil; simmer, stirring frequently, until sauce is slightly thickened, about 8 min. I actually use a hand held immersion blender to make the sauce smooth because I have picky eaters. However, this is not necessary, just thought I would mention it! Return meatballs and any juices to pan. Simmer, turning meatballs once, until cooked through, about 20 minutes.
4. Heat broiler. Arrange mozzarella on top of meatballs. Broil until melted, 2-3 min.; serve and enjoy!
**Of note** The SAN MARZANO tomatoes are a game-changer because of their sweetness. If you use another brand (if that is all you have on hand) add a few squirts of honey to the sauce. I actually do this with anything I make, soups, stews, sauce, if I want to take heat out of something or if it is to salty. Trust me;)
Let me know what you think! I will never share a recipe unless it passes this particular palate and is really good, so trust me and give this a try!
You can thank me later………