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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Italian Wedding Soup

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So just an FYI about me, I don’t like left-overs! I know I know…this fact goes against being American, but I can’t help it! The only thing I hate more that left-overs is fast food, so on days when work has put me in a pinch, this Italian Wedding Soup is just the thing I need to keep me out of the drive-thru!

Ingredients:

1 bag italian meatballs
1 cup chopped white onions
1 cup chopped carrots
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper, to taste
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (28 ounces) can diced tomatoes, drained and halved
1 cup uncooked orzo
2 cups fresh spinach roughly chopped
DIRECTIONS:
Melt the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, garlic, salt and pepper and cook until translucent and fragrant, about 4-6 minutes. Stir in broth, tomatoes, and 2 cups water. Cover and cook 10 minutes over medium heat or until soup comes to a boil adding the meatballs.   Add the orzo to the boiling soup and stir.  Orzo should be fully submerged. Cover and simmer for another 12-15 minutes over medium heat. Stir in spinach. Test a meatball ensure it is warm through. Test a piece of orzo, the pasta should be al dente. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve immediately!
INGREDIENTS:
1 bag italian meatballs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chopped white onions
1 cup chopped carrots
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper, to taste
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (28 ounces) can diced tomatoes, drained and halved
1 cup uncooked orzo
2 cups fresh spinach roughly chopped
DIRECTIONS:
Melt the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, garlic, salt and pepper and cook until translucent and fragrant, about 4-6 minutes. Stir in broth, tomatoes, and 2 cups water. Cover and cook 10 minutes over medium heat or until soup comes to a boil adding the meatballs.   Add the orzo to the boiling soup and stir.  Orzo should be fully submerged. Cover and simmer for another 12-15 minutes over medium heat. Stir in spinach. Test a meatball ensure it is warm through. Test a piece of orzo, the pasta should be al dente. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve immediately.
Serves 6 with a nice crusty bread!