I have been craving meatballs all week. I don’t know why. Maybe someone on Chopped made meatballs on Tuesday. I can’t remember. I just know that it was my weekend to cook so it we were going to have meatballs and spaghetti.
I’ve never had a “go-to” recipe for meatballs. I usually just went with what I had in the house for flavoring and just used ground beef. I was perusing Pinterest, as I do, and saw this recipe on The Cafe Sucre Farine (sounds so fancy) and saw they added sausage to their meatballs. We love sausage in our house, so it inspired me. I used some of my typical meatballs ingredients and techniques and some of theirs and created the most amazing meatball I’ve ever had in my life.
In fact Devon proclaimed that I’m never allowed to make meatballs any other way ever again. From him, that’s high praise. Because while he will usually eat anything I make, he’s a bit picky and won’t praise unless he truly means it. They were THAT amazing. So tender that you don’t even need a knife to cut them and so flavorful that you could probably just serve them with a simple tomato sauce and it would work beautifully.
Me being me, I served them with a quicker version of my Quick Pasta Sauce. Since I didn’t need meat (because meatballs), I basically just added some italian seasoning, dried oregano, fresh basil, and red pepper flakes to a jar sauce and let it simmer until the meatballs were ready to be dunked in sauce.
And yes, I do mix meatballs with my hands. I don’t smash my hands down in them but I can’t get the mixture as thoroughly mixed when I use anything but my hands. I know opinions vary widely here. Use what you please to mix, but for me it’s the cooks best tool; my hands.
credit: The Cafe Sucre Farine
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (I use 90/10)
- 1/2 pound spicy sausage
- 1 cup italian bread crumbs
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese (I used fresh, not the green tub)
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup fresh basil
- 1 medium onion, grated (I used a box grater because I like the onion juice in here a well, you can finely chop if you prefer)
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or grated (yes, I grated)
- 2 teaspoons dry oregano
- 2 teaspoons parsley flakes (fresh is better but for the life of me, MD doesn’t like fresh parsley lately)
- 1 tablespoon light extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
1. In a small bowl, mix the bread crumbs and milk together. It almost makes it look like actual bread again. You can use a cup of fresh bread crumbs and omit this step if you prefer. We don’t eat a ton of bread here so we always have dry bread crumbs.
2. Mix all ingredients except ground beef, sausage, and olive oil in a big bowl. Mix until thoroughly combined. I prefer this way because it’s less mixing I have to do when the ground meat comes into play.
3. Add ground beef and sausage and mix with your hands (or whatever method you fancy) gently until well combined.
4. Measure out into 1 1/2 inch balls. I used an ice cream scoop to help measure. Sprinkle your palms with water and roll the meatball gently between your palms to smooth out the ball. Place on a greased, foil lined, baking sheet (I use unflavored cooking spray to help limit sticking to the foil – no one wants to eat foil). Drizzle the tops with the olive oil.
5. Bake meatballs for about 25 minutes at 425F degrees, or until a meat thermometer registers 165F in the middle of one of the meatballs. Then, gently place the meatballs into your simmering pasta sauce and allow them to simmer in the sauce for 2-3 minutes. Serve over thin spaghetti or eat them on their own (they were delicious and filling enough to be eaten by themselves).