Italian Style Meatballs

Yesterday was a long day. I spent a lot of time in the car driving. It was cold and even snowing in some parts of Kansas. Right now it feels more like winter than it does fall and it’s not suppose to get better today or tomorrow – there’s always hope for the weekend!

With it being colder again my thoughts have been on warm comforting food that will fill the house with mouth watering smells. So when I got home last night, that’s just what I did. I have had meatball recipes on my mind lately. I love playing with this recipe, because it can be so diverse. You can make barbecue meatballs, Italian meatballs, spicy meatballs, a meatball casserole (this is coming, soon), so many different things. Last night though, Italian style meatballs sounded good. So even though it was late when I got home I decided to dive right in and start throwing together some Italian style meatballs.

If you are curious or have followed me in the past, there is a meatball recipe on here already, I promise you this one is a different take on it! In fact, I may have liked these better than the original recipe – not sure yet. Either recipe is delicious and will fill your house with wonderful Italian smells. I know last night just when I was mixing all the ingredients together my house smelled warm and cozy. Almost like an Italian restaurant.

Before I even started mixing the ground hamburger with all herbs, I went ahead and started my pasta sauce on the stove top. For this I always use a can of pasta sauce that I know my family loves. Then I simply add to it. Our favorite canned pasta sauce right now is Rao’s Tomato Basil. Starting off with a good base sauce is key to making the entire sauce flavorful.

PASTA SAUCE:

  • 1 can Rao’s Tomato Basil
  • 1 (16oz) carton tomato sauce
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 can (14.5oz) diced tomatoes
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp basil (dried or fresh – I used dried)
  • salt and pepper

I let this simmer while I was getting the meatball mixture together and while they cooked. The longer you let this  simmer and come together the better it is!

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MEATBALLS:

  • 3 lbs ground beef
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup parmesan
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup gluten free bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup aloud milk
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

First off, measure out your bread crumbs and milk in a separate bowl and let them come together, set aside. In a large bowl, add all the other ingredients and mix with your hands. It doesn’t’ have to be well combined at this point because we haven’t put in our bread crumb mixture yet. Add in your bread crumb and milk last and then begin to fully combine everything. Once your mixture is well mixed use a cookie scoop to form the meatballs. This will give you fairly uniform sized meatballs. Place on your sheet pan and pop them in the oven for approximately 15 minutes. At this point they will not be fully cooked through.

Take them out of the oven after 15 minutes and gently put them in your simmering pasta sauce. Make sure to spread them out. Cover your pan with a lid and let the meatballs and pasta sauce simmer for 30 minutes to an hour. Really the meatballs finish cooking through in about 15-20 minutes in the sauce, but letting them slowly simmer in the sauce makes them even more delicious.

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Serve with your favorite pasta noodles or simply serve them alone! We do both around here. I make extra to freeze and for left overs during the week.  They also make a great meatball sandwich! Take a bun (or some sliced garlic bread), some sliced mozzarella, throw a meatball or two on the bun, make sure you add some sauce on the bun/bread too, with a fresh leaf of basil and bam! You have a meatball sandwich!

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