Sunday, February 24, 2013

Meatballs with Pecorino Romano

(4 servings)

This weekend I hit Sprouts Market with my shopping list and returned home with a completely different set of items than I planned on. It was the Romano cheese that tripped me up. Seeing it triggered memories of meatballs from years ago which had contained copious amounts of this delightfully salty and sharp cheese. My plans for shrimp cakes went right out the window. Perhaps next week.

Whenever I make meatballs, I'm inclined to brown the onions first before adding them to the meat and then I brown the meatballs before adding those to the sauce. This time I decided to skip both steps. I minced the onions quite fine, and dropped the formed meatballs directly into the sauce. This not only saved time but it also omitted the oil which would otherwise have been used for the frying. I was quite pleased with how they turned out.

If you have a food processor (for chopping the onions and parsley and making the breadcrumbs) and a stand mixer (for combining the meatballs), this will go very quickly. I had everything in the pot in under 15 minutes. If you don't have those tools, this recipe will still be quite manageable.

1 24oz jar Marinara Sauce
1/2 cup red wine or beef broth
a few pinches red pepper flakes
1 red bell pepper, washed, seeded and diced

1 lb extra lean ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large yellow onion, finely chopped
small handful fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano, finely grated
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg
freshly cracked pepper, to taste

Combine the sauce, wine or broth, pepper flakes and bell pepper in a large pot with a tight fitting lid. Cover the pot and set it over a low flame while you prepare the meatballs.

Place the beef, garlic, onion, parsley (set a small amount aside for garnish, if desired), Romano, bread crumbs, milk, egg and cracked pepper into the large bowl of a stand mixer or just a large bowl. If you are using the stand mixer, then use the paddle attachment and run on slow speed for about a minute until the mixture is evenly combined. If you are doing this by hand, then just work everything together with a large wooden spoon or your hands.

The meat mixture will be quite moist, which is fine. Shape firmly (otherwise they might fall apart) into small meatballs about 2 inches in diameter and drop them into the sauce. Don't worry if the sauce doesn't completely cover them.

Cover the pot and cook for about 60-75 minutes over the lowest flame. Check the meatballs after 30 minutes and gently turn them over with a large spoon. If there's too much sauce after an hour or so, remove the lid and continue to cook until the sauce has thickened a touch.

Serve with cooked pasta or rice. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.


Anonymous said...

Oh I'm impressed! these meatballs look fantastic - I want to grab them through the computer!!
mary x

Finla said...

So happy i found your blog through foodgwaker. I have been going through your delicious recipes.

Anonymous said...

The sauce is called "marinAra" because it is pronounced "mah-ree-NAH-rah".

Anyway, your meatballs look huge and yummy! You should try making homemade sauce. It is the best!

Anonymous said...

My mother always told me to use regular ground beef or my meatballs would be rock hard.

I made these last night with extra lean like you suggested and boy was I surprised! They were so tender! My family loved them!

Anonymous said...

Looks absolutely devine...will efinitely make these on Saturday. Love your site (thanks to the Foodgawker)


Sharon W. said...

meatballs are in the works here in RI: thanks again for that printing button!!!!

Julia @ A Cedar Spoon said...

Meatballs are the best..I love your sauce w/ the red wine. I think adding red wine to sauce takes it up a notch.

Mary Bergfeld said...

I love time savers and your recipe certainly is one. Your meatballs and sauce really look delicious. When is dinner :-). Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

Carole said...

Just beautiful! Thanks

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