Thursday, June 26, 2008

Julia's Italian Meatballs

This is an adaptation of my mother's meatballs and my grandmother's sauce. It gets tremendous flavor from the meat simmering in the sauce. I always make extra, because it is great using the leftovers for meatball sandwiches. This is a recipe for the slow cooker, so it can be assembled ahead of time, cook during the day, and have amazing flavor at suppertime.


For the sauce,

1 large can tomato puree (check that there are no extra seasonings, just tomatoes)
1 medium can tomato paste
1 1/2 cups water
8 leaves fresh basil, chopped
20 leaves fresh oregano, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
pepper to taste (or red pepper flakes, if you like your sauce spicier)

For the meatballs,

1 lb. ground round
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs (I use Progresso)
1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded romano cheese

Assemble sauce ingredients in slow cooker. Simmer on low, 6-8 hours. (You can use the high setting if you need to, but be careful. The sugars in the tomatoes can scorch on the side of the pot. Low works best for this recipe.)

In a large mixing bowl, combine the meatball ingredients. Using your hands (there really is no better way), knead until thoroughly mixed. Heat oven to 350 degrees and roll into balls about 2 inches in diameter. Place 1 inch apart on a cookie sheet lined with non-stick foil. Bake 12 minutes. Turn over and bake again, 12 minutes. Drop baked meatballs into sauce in slow cooker. Allow to cook until sauce is ready to serve (at least 1 hour).

Serve with your favorite pasta, and enjoy!

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