Memorial Day—Plan B, Meatballs


“For love of country, they accepted death.” — James Garfield

So while we experienced more sun in the fun than expected over the weekend with Tropical Storm/Bonnie now a tropical depression a few dinner options were juggled just a bit…no burgers etc on Sunday, but a fine stand in Sunday meatballs, a nice cucumber tomato salad with a herby yogurt dressing and a new bread recipe to go with our Italian dinner…I made a rather easy tasty version with a blend of pork, veal and lean ground round, simply seasoned with freshly grated cheeses, fresh picked herbs and homemade breadcrumbs.  Pan fried since I didn’t have to make too many and I love the aroma on a Sunday of the meatballs and ultimately a nice marinara made with whole canned San Marzano tomatoes along with a few roasted small fresh tomatoes.  It is a lazy day cooking day so I pulled out a container of frozen sauce or two, but if you aren’t lucky enough to have that on hand,  select a good marinara at the store…I heard that Giada’s marinara is one top choice as is Rao’s.

You can add some special touches to a jarred sauce to perk it up a little, some fresh herbs and a cheese rind and a boost of flavor…today I found a wonderful small container of fresh sauce with the first of the homemade sausage so Michael will love the extra meat in the sauce.  Did I say that you can adapt this sauce to what you like?

For about 16 medium-sized meatballs:
1+3/4 pound blended beef pork and veal (1 lb. beef and 1/2 each pork and veal)
3 medium cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
1/4 large yellow onion, diced
3/4 cups fresh bread crumbs, plain or seasoned will add a bit more flavor
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
6 ounces or so of blended part and romano cheeses
*optional sausage spice seasoning 1-2 teaspoons
salt and pepper to taste
assortment of fresh herbs, basil, parsley, thyme leaves, and fresh oregano

Gently blend all of the meatball ingredients and shape into meatballs, heat a pan over medium heat and sauté meatballs turning brown, remove to plate until the sauce is ready.

For the sauce:
28 ounces strained san Marzano tomatoes, or 1-24-28 ounce jar marinara
3 cloves of smashed and minced garlic
1/4 onion, small diced
1 whole carrot cut into chunks (pull out before serving)
pieces of red pepper flakes
splashes of red wine
(1 bay leaf to simmer in the sauce)
1  3/4 inch piece of cheese rind (part or Romano)
Salt and pepper
*optional sliced assorted mushrooms, 8 ounces

Over medium high heat place a pot large enough to hold the amount of sauce that you are making, add about 1 1/2 tablespoons EVOO add the onion and carrot, sauté gently until opaque, add mushrooms if using and sauté until just crisp around the edges.  Toss in the garlic, bay leaf red pepper flakes and season with salt, pepper, deglaze the pan and toss in the tomatoes or plain sauce of choice.  Simmer for 20 or so minutes and toss in the meatballs and simmer on very low for another 20 minutes.  Serve piping hot over your favorite pasta and extra grated cheese.

Serve with a good Italian bread and a good salad…

Figure 8 bread1 Raita cucumber Salad