I grew up in a household heavily influenced by our Italian heritage. Homemade meatballs and sauce were the norm but none ever came close my grandmother’s. Her’s were THE BEST. I came close to replicating her meatballs once but that was a fluke. It was a last minute thing and I literally threw a bunch of ingredients in a bowl, mixed it up, and baked it. I wasn’t even fucking trying!
After years of trying in vain to come somewhere close to my grandmother’s flavors, I gave up. I said fuck it and decided to do my own thing. As long it didn’t suck and was edible I would consider it a win. There are a million different ways to make sauce and meatballs but I thought I’d share how I make mine.
BUT FIRST! Every time I make/eat/think of meatballs I think of this song. It’s kind of a classic, right?
I had been making tomato sauce using canned puree and sauce. You’d mix it together on the stove, add seasonings, let it simmer for a few, and maybe add some meatballs and sausage. I’m a lazy ass cook. I find my method a little easier and quicker than all that and it doesn’t rely on canned shit.
- Gather your tomatoes and cut them.
- Toss them in olive oil and seasonings.
- Smash a shit ton of garlic and mix it in with the tomatoes.
- Put everything on a baking pan and bake for 15 minutes, broil for 5.
- Blend it all together when done. I have a handy immersion blender that works perfectly for this step.
- Watch this quick little video of me making sauce!
Unlike the tomato sauce you can’t really adjust your seasonings when you’re making meatballs. If they suck, they suck. At least with the sauce you can add something later to make it taste better. No pressure. I used to add my meatballs to my stove-top sauce but not anymore. I opt for the pan fry then bake method. The husband doesn’t complain so why should I change my method?
- Mix your seasonings, an egg or two, and some breadcrumbs together.
- Form your balls. You can use your hands or an ice scream scoop for uniformity.
- Fry in olive oil until a nice crust has formed on most sides. (They’re spheres so you can’t get all the sides!)
- Transfer to a lined pan and bake for 15ish minutes. I used a thermometer to make sure the inside temperature was safe.
Cook a small amount at a time to keep your oil hot.
What’s the Point?
I love my grandmother and I miss her dearly so sometimes I do wish I could make her meatballs. Not just because they are so damn delicious but because they remind me of her. But I realized when I was writing this post that maybe it’s a good thing I’ve failed to replicate her recipe. My meatballs don’t suck but can you imagine telling a dinner guest, “I’m so glad you like them, but they don’t come anywhere close to my grandmother’s!” My grandmother’s meatballs are now raised to a new level of marvelous-ness! And yes, this is my way of feeling better about not re-creating them.
I never got around to making ice cream so I think I’ll keep avoiding that.