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Meatballs and Tomato Sauce

Any type of ground meat will work with this recipe, but a blend of pork and beef will yield the best results. Serve the meatballs over your favorite pasta and freeze any leftovers in the sauce; they can be reheated for meatball sandwiches. From the book "Mad Hungry," by Lucinda Scala Quinn (Artisan Books).

  • Yield: Makes thirty 1 1/2-inch meatballs
Meatballs and Tomato Sauce

Source: Mad Hungry, October 2010

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 slices best-quality bread, crusts removed
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (use 1 teaspoon if Parmesan is substituted for the Romano)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Two 28-ounce cans best-quality whole tomatoes, pulsed with juices in a blender
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the milk. Soak the bread in the milk, turning the slices over to absorb it. Cool and mince the bread. Place it in a large bowl. Add the meats, garlic, onion, eggs, cheese, parsley, pepper, and salt. Using clean hands, mix together until completely combined.

  2. Have a rimmed baking sheet or platter ready. Roll into 1 1/2-inch meatballs. (If you periodically run cold water over your hands, the meat won't stick to them as you roll.) If you have time, chill the raw meatballs to firm them up.

  3. Heat a 14-inch skillet (or two smaller skillets to fry in batches) over high heat. Add the olive oil and when it is very hot, add the meatballs in a single layer. Don't crowd the pan; work in batches if necessary. Fry the meatballs without moving for a few minutes, then turn as they cook to brown on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Spoon out any excess oil from the pan, carefully scraping around the meatballs.

  4. Add the tomatoes and scrape the bottom of the pan to incorporate all the browned bits. Simmer for 30 minutes. Serve hot pasta with 3 meatballs on top, some sauce, the grated cheese, and freshly ground black pepper.

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