Sunday dinner is my favorite meal of the week. It is the one time that everyone is home, eating at the same time, and enjoying each other’s company – minus the occasional reminder for the kids to put away the cell phones. Jim and I both love to cook and best of all, we enjoy cooking together.  So when it was time to plan out our Sunday family dinner menu, the Italian side of him brought out the idea to make a classic meatball recipe.

Now, we aren’t talking about the size of the frozen meatballs that you purchase in the grocery store for appetizers. Traditional Italian meatballs are much larger and in fact, can be a meal among themselves. They size can be compared to a tennis ball!  You can serve them as their own entrée with a side of marinara sauce, or serve them on top of pasta.

We let our meatballs cook in the crockpot for several hours while absorbing the flavors of our home-made canned pasta sauce made straight from the garden last summer (see recipe here – Canned Pasta Sauce Recipe). The aroma made everyone’s mouth water in anticipation of the upcoming dinner. And don’t forget, if you have extra time, you can even make your own homemade noodles. (see recipe here – How to Make Your Own Pasta Noodles)

Classic Italian Meatball Recipe

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs of sweet Italian sausage
1 1/2 lbs of ground beef
1/2 large onion, diced finely

3 eggs
1/2 red pepper, diced finely
1/2 green pepper, diced finely
6 cloves garlic
3 cups of breadcrumbs (we mix traditional and italian blends)

1 1/2 cups of grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
1 3/4 cups of red wine (or water)
1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning mix
3/4 -1 cup of olive oil for browning the meatballs

Instructions:

1. Place all the ingredients EXCEPT for the wine/water into a large bowl.

2. Pour 3/4 cup of wine on top of the mixture and begin to mix using your hands.  Once ingredients begin to become blended, add the remaining wine/water.  Continue working mixture until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed.

3. Roll meatballs to desired size using the palms of your hands.  **HINT — dip your hands into warm water prior to rolling the mixture. This will decrease the amount of mixture that becomes stuck on your hands. Reapply water as needed.

Making Homemade Goodness

4. Next, in a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat. Once heated add a few meatballs to the pan, making sure to leave room to turn each of them. *We placed 4 or 5 meatballs in at one time. Brown each side. *They will not be cooked through at this point.

5. Remove browned meatballs and drain on a paper towel. Repeat the process until all meatballs are browned.

6. Add meatballs to a crockpot and add enough pasta sauce to just cover the top of each meatball. Our 6 1/2 quart crockpot held 12 tennis ball sized meatballs.

7. Cook on high for 4-6 hours, or low for 8-10 hours, or until cooked through.

8. Eat as an entrée, or add it to a bed of pasta.

Enjoy!

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Mary and Jim




Italian Meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs of sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 1/2 lbs of ground beef
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 large onion diced finely
  • 1/2 red pepper diced finely
  • 1/2 green pepper diced finely
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 3 cups of breadcrumbs we mix traditional and italian blends
  • 1 1/2 cups of grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
  • 1 3/4 cups of red wine or water
  • 1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning mix
  • 3/4 -1 cup of olive oil for browning the meatballs

Instructions

  1. Place all the ingredients EXCEPT for the wine/water into a large bowl.
  2. Pour 3/4 cup of wine on top of the mixture and begin to mix using your hands. Once ingredients begin to become blended, add the remaining wine/water. Continue working mixture until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
  3. Roll meatballs to desired size using the palms of your hands. **HINT -- dip your hands into warm water prior to rolling the mixture. This will decrease the amount of mixture that becomes stuck on your hands. Reapply water as needed.
  4. In a large skilled, heat olive oil on medium heat. Once heated add a few meatballs to the pan, making sure to leave room to turn each of them. *We placed 4 or 5 meatballs in at one time. Brown each side. *They will not be cooked through at this point.
  5. Remove browned meatballs and drain on a paper towel. Repeat the process until all meatballs are browned.
  6. Add meatballs to a crockpot and add enough pasta sauce to just cover the top of each meatball. Our 6 1/2 quart crockpot held 12 tennis ball sized meatballs.
  7. Cook on high for 4-6 hours, or low for 8-10 hours, or until cooked through.

Recipe Notes

Recipe courtesy of Old World Garden Farms

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