The Classic Meatball

I though I knew meatballs until 3 years ago. Typically, meatballs of my past were overworked, dry, and flavorless. Any hope of a delicious meatball would be to drown it in some sort of sauce and hope for the best.  You’ll find the texture is light with fantastic flavors of fennel and oregano that’s sure to make you rethink the meatball.  During the busy workweek or prepping for a party you can’t get much easier that tossing them in the oven to cook!

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Ingredients:

2 lbs lean ground beef

1 c. ricotta cheese

2 large eggs

2 Tbsp canola oil

½ c. italian seasoned bread crumbs

¼ c. fresh parsley, chopped

1 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped

2 tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. fennel, ground

2 minced garlic cloves

1 Tbsp fresh basil leaves

¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

5 c. crushed tomatoes

Directions:

  1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees and coat the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking pan with canola oil
  2. Combine the grounded beef, ricotta, eggs, italian bread crumbs, parsley, oregano salt, crushed red pepper flakes, and fennel in a large bowl and mix by hand until blended.
  3. Shape the meat into 1½ inch sized firmly packed golf ball sized meatballs.
  4. Placed the meatballs into the prepared baking dish so that they fit tightly so that they are touching both in  rows and columns.
  5. Bake the meatballs for 20 minutes or until the meat thermometer reads 165 degrees from the center of the meatball.
  6. While the meatballs are cooking, heat the crushed tomatoes, fresh minced garlic, and fresh basil in a sauce pan to heat, stirring occasionally.
  7. Drain the cooked meatballs of any excess grease and add the heated tomato sauce.
  8. Return the meatballs and sauce to the oven and continue roasted for another 15 minutes.

Yields 2 dozen

Adapted by The Meatball Company

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Mulled Red Wine with Muscovado Sugar

Mulled Red Wine with Muscovado Sugar

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As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become quite the wine connoisseur and fearless in my choices. As an extreme novice I shied away from Red wine not  understanding it doesn’t belong in the fridge. Once the learning started, the world of wine opened up.  I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing, but the optimist in me chooses to believe it’s GOOD!  The delicate tones of a Merlot compared to the bubbly delights of a Riesling can compliment the best Ribeye or the perfect Salmon.  Not only am I an optimist, but I am adventurous when it comes to food and libations, so imagine my delight when I stumbled across this Mulled Red Wine by Marcia Kiesel. Armed with the perfect glass as my weapon, I took no prisoners! Enjoy!
CONTRIBUTED BY MARCIA KIESEL

Have I mentioned my love of a good bottle of wine? As

  1. Two 750-milliliter bottles (or the equivalent) fruity red wine, such as Zinfandel or Merlot
  2. Zest strips from 1 orange
  3. 1 1/2 cups muscovado sugar or other dark brown sugar
  4. 2 teaspoons black peppercorns, lightly crushed
  5. One 3-inch cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
  6. 3 bay leaves
  7. 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed
  1. Put the peppercorns, fennel seeds and cinnamon in a large tea ball or wrap them in cheesecloth and secure them with kitchen string. In a large saucepan, combine the aromatics with the wine, bay leaves and orange zest. Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove the aromatics and orange zest strips. Stir in the sugar until dissolved. Serve warm, in glasses or mugs.
MAKE AHEAD Once cooled, the mulled wine can be poured into a pitcher and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat gently.