Before he tasted these, my husband would have told you, if asked, that he doesn't like meatballs. I know strange huh? Who doesn't like meatballs? Anyway, the first time I heard that I was determined to change his mind. He just hasn't had GOOD meatballs obviously. One Saturday while watching my American's Test Kitchen DVD's I watched them make this recipe for Meatballs in Marinara Sauce. They did look like allot of work but I was up for the challenge. So a couple of weekends ago I set out on Sunday to make these Meatballs in Marinara Sauce. I watched anxiously as my husband took his first bite. Sooo? I asked him. His response was "These are really good!". I didn't stop there but continued to grill him for a couple of minutes to make sure he really liked them and wasn't just being polite. SUCCESS! He now won't tell you, if asked, that he doesn't like meatballs. Thanks American's Test Kitchen- as always you never disappoint!
Meatballs in Marinara Sauce
Serves 8- Freezes very well
The meatballs and sauce both use the same onion mixture.
1/4 cup olive oil
3 onions , chopped fine
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup water
4 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil leaf
1 - 2 teaspoons sugar , as needed
4 slices hearty white sandwich bread
3/4 cup milk
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage , casings removed
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 large eggs
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck (80 percent lean)
1. For the onion mixture: Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook onions until golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer half of onion mixture to large bowl and set aside.
2. For the marinara: Add tomato paste to remaining onion mixture in pot and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add wine and cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in water and tomatoes and simmer over low heat until sauce is no longer watery, 45 to 60 minutes. Stir in cheese and basil and adjust seasonings with salt and sugar.
3. For the meatballs: Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. Mash bread and milk in bowl with reserved onion mixture until smooth. Add remaining ingredients, except ground beef, to bowl and mash to combine. Add beef and knead with hands until well combined. Form mixture into 2 1/2-inch meatballs (you should have about 16 meatballs), place on rimmed baking sheet, and bake until well browned, about 20 minutes.
4. Transfer meatballs to pot with sauce. Simmer for 15 minutes. Serve over pasta. (Meatballs and marinara can be frozen for up to 1 month.)