Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Homemade Meatballs and Polenta

I could start this post by saying that Italian food is one of my favorites, but let's face it, ALL food is "one of my favorites", so we can just skip right past that and get to the awesomeness of this recipe.
Homemade Italian Meatballs with Polenta

The list of ingredients is a little long, and the cook time is a little long, but don't be intimidated... it is worth every second this. These are definitely some of the best meatballs I have ever had!

Combine the meatball ingredients in a large bowl.




This recipe makes 24 good sized meatballs. With 3 per serving, this will feed 8 people!

 When mixing the ingredients together it is best done with your hands. I know a lot of people who don't like to get their hands in their food, but that is the best way to make sure that it is well combined, and let's face it, you have to put your hands in there to roll the 24 meatballs anyway!

The meatballs go into an oiled roasting pan, and bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes.

After the first 30 minutes of baking they will be nicely browned.
After the first round of baking, the temperature of the oven is lowered and the meatballs are covered with tomato sauce and baked for another 2 hours.


 I served mine with fresh basil on top and a side of polenta with marinara sauce... so good!


I really like polenta, but Mike is not a fan, so if any of you have good polenta recipes out there that might persuade Mike to change his mind, please send them my way!

PORK AND RICOTTA MEATBALLS IN TOMATO SAUCE
Serves 8
Total time ~ 3 hours

Ingredients
1/2 lb sliced white bread, crusts removed and cut into 1/2-inch dice (4 cups)
1 1/2 lbs lean ground pork
3 oz thickly sliced pancetta, minced
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup ricotta cheese (5 oz)
1/4 cup Parsley, chopped
1 tsp. dried Oregano
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds, chopped
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Salt
2 28 oz cans peeled Italian tomatoes, crushed
Ground Pepper
2 Tbsp. Shredded Basil
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano Cheese, freshly grated

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a food processor, pulse the bread to coarse crumbs. Transfer the crumbs to a large bowl and add the pork, pancetta, eggs, ricotta, parsley, oregano, fennel seeds, crushed red pepper and 1 1/2 tsp. of kosher salt. Mix well. Shape into 24 meatballs, using about 3 rounded tablespoons of the mixture for each. Transfer the meatballs to an oiled medium roasting pan.
Roast the meatballs in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until firm and just beginning to brown. Using a spatula, loosen the meatballs from the bottom of the pan. Add the crushed tomatoes to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees and cook uncovered for about 2 hours, or until the sauce is very thick and the meatballs are very tender; turn the meatballs once or twice during cooking.
Transfer the meatballs and tomato sauce to a large platter. Garnish with the basil and Pecorino and serve hot.