Italian Sunday: Meatballs and Polenta

28 March 2024

OK.. this was amazing. Better than amazing. I love meatballs, Brian does not. He said he would try so I gave it my best go. And I think he's on the way to conversion to meatball liker. 

10 fresh basil leaves
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly smashed
1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes (optional)
2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes (8 cups)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ pound ground pork
½ pound ground veal
½ pound ground beef (preferably 15-percent fat)
1cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving
1cup seasoned Italian bread crumbs
½ cup whole milk
½ cup tomato sauce (reserved from recipe above), cooled
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves (optional)
1 tablespoon kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal)
1teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Step 1
Prepare the sauce: Tear 5 basil leaves in half; reserve the rest. Combine the torn basil, olive oil, garlic and red-pepper flakes (if using), in a small saucepan over very low heat for 10 minutes, allowing the basil and garlic to steep in the oil. (Do not let the garlic get beyond medium brown in color.) Remove from the heat, strain the oil, discard the solids and set aside.

Step 2
In a large pot, combine the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and pepper with 2 cups water and the infused oil. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then immediately reduce to a simmer. Remove ½ cup of the sauce for the meatballs, setting aside to cool.

Step 3
Partially cover the pot and simmer the sauce, undisturbed, while you prepare the meatballs.

Step 4
In a large bowl, hand mix all the meatball ingredients (including the reserved ½ cup sauce) until combined. (The mixture will be quite soft.) Wet your hands and pinch off approximately ¼-cup portions and roll them into balls between your palms. (They should each be about 2 ¼-inches wide.) Place each meatball on a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining mixture, making about 16 meatballs.

Step 5
Once all the meatballs have been rolled, carefully drop them into the simmering sauce. If the pot seems too full, shimmy the pot back and forth gently to make more room to simmer the meatballs in an even layer. Do not stir, as the meatballs will break apart.

Step 6
Cover the pot partially with a lid and gently simmer the meatballs in the sauce for 1 hour (or up to 2 hours) until they are firm and cooked through. Carefully remove the meatballs to a plate, adding spoonfuls of sauce, or transfer the meatballs and sauce to a shallow serving bowl. Chop the remaining basil and sprinkle on top, and garnish with more grated Pecorino.

I also made homemade focaccia. I did the 24 hour recipe this time and it was delish! But I think I could do my old one and be just fine too. You can find mine HERE

I also don't really remember how I cooked the polenta but I'm pretty sure just normal and then added parmesan at the end. Try it! XOXO


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