I love to cook when it’s chilly out. I love to cook food that sticks to your ribs and makes you happy and warms you up. I had one such of these days this week. Fall has arrived to Oklahoma, and while it’s not exactly the crisp Wisconsin autumns of my youth, I’ll take what I can get. Fall in Oklahoma is more like, oh, early summer morning in Wisconsin. So, when my kids came home from school and it was a mere 70 degrees outside, my thin-blooded children were freezing. Freezing!
Seriously. They came and wrapped up in winter clothes and hats, earmuffs, scarves and gloves.
Did I mention it was 70 outside? Isn’t that like shorts weather? Whatever.
Seeing as how this is fall, I figured that a nice, warm, big pot of spaghetti & meatballs was in order. I am okay with jarred sauce (for real–I’ve got a favorite, it’s thick and garlicky and so good and I don’t care if it comes from a jar. I’m not Italian; I don’t pretend to be. I’ll leave it to the experts to make my sauce. But I am a carnivore. So I’ll make the meatballs.
I’ve made them lots of different ways in the past, and this is a recipe I’ll revisit and perfect (hence the “part 1”). I usually toss in an egg and bread crumbs, but that results in a softer texture that I’m not crazy about. So instead, it’s a processed carb-free, filler-free end game that I’m after. This time, I’m going simple and we’ll see how it goes
Meatballs: part 1
1.5 pounds very lean ground beef
1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1 teaspoon dry Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons minced garlic
freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil (for cooking)
In a large bowl, lightly mix all ingredients except oil until just combined. Form balls of somewhat uniform size to ensure even cooking. I used a 1-tablespoon size metal cookie scoop for my meatballs.
Warm up a little olive oil in a heavy pan and cook your meatballs in batches, giving yourself enough room to turn the meatballs and allow them to brown all around. When cooked through, remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain before adding to your sauce as the pork sausage will release a lot of fat. I’m not convinced that this is the best way to cook meatballs, so I’m going to try this again, researching some other cooking methods first.
I am very pleased with this recipe, the meatballs turned out moist and flavorful. I’d like to try it with ground venison or chicken in place of the beef. But the Italian sausage is non-negotiable. It adds much-needed fat and flavor.
Impress your family with how delicious these meatballs are! And then convince them how hard you worked on them and encourage them to repay you by washing that dirty, greasy pan.
Seriously! Someone needs to tackle this. Because, I it’s time for me to tackle this: