Monday, January 31, 2011

Irresistible Italian Meatballs

meatballs...one of my first true loves! i can remember growing up eating the most amazing baseball-sized meatballs at gargano's - always with an extra side of marinara! a few years ago my grandmother shared her recipe and it's been everywhere with me - DC, NYC and it's now made it's way back to GA. if you've lived with me or in the same town, you've probably shared in my love of these little guys. i make a few different versions, but this is my go-to italian recipe.

i also use an amazing sauce in this recipe, which i credit as making it even better - Rao's marinara sauce. it's about $8.99 for a 32 oz. jar but worth the $$$ & luckily for us in GA, they sell it at most grocery stores.












{i had the pleasure of dining at Rao's NYC in 2007 which was a a once in a lifetime opportunity}

Per Wikipedia-
Rao's is an elite restaurant where people trying to get in have a small chance of eating there. There are table "owners" that are regulars there, so unless you are invited as a guest, the wait for Rao's could be many, many years. Even when you call their phone number, it is an answering machine almost always saying they are booked for the year and not taking any reservations at the moment.



{IRRESISTIBLE ITALIAN MEATBALLS}
*serves 4
*freeze any leftover meatballs and re-heat for an instant dinner down the road






Ingredients (in order of use)
  • 1 1/4 lb ground turkey
  • 1 12 oz. reduced-fat sausage
  • 1 1/2 c italian bread crumbs
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c shredded parmesan cheese {plus extra for serving}
  • 4-6 basil leaves, thinly sliced {pus extra for serving}
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic OR 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp of italian seasoning {easy to find in the spice aisle}
  • salt & pepper {to taste}
  • 2 jars of 32 oz. marinara {your choice, but i prefer Rao's}
  • 1 box pasta {i prefer whole wheat angel hair}
1. mix all ingredients except the marinara sauce {i like to use a mashed potato mixer to ensure an even mix}.
2. in a crockpot {cooks approx. 3 hrs} or in a tall stockpot {cooks approx. 30 minutes}, pour 2 jars of marinara and set to low heat.
3. roll meatballs into ping-pong sized balls & gently place in crockpot or stockpot and "braise" them - {allows the meatballs to cook in the sauce and soak up the flavor} - on low heat, or until brown throughout. toss ever so gently as to not "break the balls" but ensuring all receive the same amount of TLC with the heat source.
5. boil pasta, drain.
5. plate-serve over pasta, top with parmesan, basil and enjoy!
*i also served with red pepper flakes for a kick.

Make it a Meal-
Appetizer-Tomato Basil Bruschetta
Side-Tuscan-Style Slice & Dice Zucchini or Toasted French Bread from your local grocery store bakery

*this delicious dinner was made in honor of my MIL (mother-in-law) - she is having surgery on wednesday so i wanted to send her into the OR with a full tummy!


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