In Italy, meatballs are a dish that stands on its own – they are not tainted with pasta as in the classically American “spaghetti and meatballs”. They are served as a secondo, or a second course which is usually a meat course that follows the primo, typically a pasta dish. The Italian and I made meatballs the other day and had a lot of fun making this hands-on food. They were also quite tasty and I didn’t even miss the pasta!
Minced beef – 500 grams
Bread – two slices
Salt and Pepper to taste
Parsley – 2 tsp
Garlic – 3 cloves
Nutmeg – 1/4 tsp
Eggs – 3
Parmesan cheese – 1/2 cup grated
Fresh basil – 3-4 leaves
Canned tomato sauce – 1 can
Onion – 1
Olive oil – 1 Tablespoon
Chop the slices of bread (or use pre-made bread crumbs) into squares. Place the minced beef in a mixing bowl and add the bread crumbs, parmesan, parsley, eggs, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Knead the mixture with your hands and then let it sit for an hour.
Meanwhile, prepare the tomato sauce. In a frying pan, simmer the oil, garlic and chopped onion until the onion becomes translucent. Add the tomato sauce and season with salt and pepper. Let this simmer until the sauce reduces.
Begin to form the meatballs by taking about 2 Tablespoons of the meat mixture and shaping it into a ball with the palm of hands.
When the tomato sauce has reduced, add the meatballs to the pan and simmer for about 20-30 minutes on low heat. Add the basil leaves about five minutes before removing from heat.
When the meatballs are cooked through, remove from the flame. Serve hot.