These are easy and delicious - they're already a staple in our meal rotation!! Thanks as always, Deb!
1 pound ground meat
2/3 cup fresh bread crumbs or 1/2 cup panko
1/3 cup milk or water
2 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
2 teaspoons coarse or kosher salt, divided
Pinches of red pepper flakes or few grinds of black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 large eggs
2 garlic cloves, minced, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 28-ounce cans of tomato puree or crushed tomatoes
Place meat, crumbs, milk or water, parsley, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, onion powder, eggs and half of the minced garlic in a large bowl. I like to mix all of this together with a fork, which does a good job of breaking up the eggs and chunks of meat. Form mixture into 1 1/2 to 2-inch meatballs and arrange on a plate. I like to let them set in the fridge for a bit — 30 minutes, if you can spare it — which helps them keep their shape.
In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add remaining garlic and some pepper flakes and let sizzle until garlic is golden, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add tomatoes (beware the splatter!) and season with remaining salt. Let mixture simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes (with a thicker puree) or 20 (for crushed tomatoes, which are usually more watery), stirring occasionally.
With stove on the lowest heat possible to maintain a gentle simmer, add meatballs to sauce one by one, and cover with a lid. It will be hard but please don’t touch or move them for at least 20 minutes of the 25-minute cooking time, so that they have a chance to keep their shape. Meatballs should be fully cooked through at 25 minutes, but it cannot hurt to cut one in half to verify.
- You can also cook these in the slow cooker: add all the sauce ingredients to the pot, then nestle the meatballs in, making sure they are as covered as possible in the sauce. Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.
- For the meat, I like to use ground beef, but not the leanest kind. Use an 80/20 or 85/15 ground beef so the meatballs remain juicy. You can also do half beef, half pork - the fattier pork will also keep the meatballs from drying out too much.