Loading Video...

Meatballs with Marinara

Save Recipe
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 4 hr 30 min (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 55 min
  • Yield: 18 to 20 meatballs
Share This Recipe

Ingredients

Marinara Sauce:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 pound diced pancetta

2 large Spanish onions, cut into 1/4-inch dice

Kosher salt

4 large garlic cloves, smashed and chopped

Pinch crushed red pepper

Four 28-ounce cans Italian plum San Marzano tomatoes

Meatballs:

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, 1/4-inch dice

Salt

2 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped

Pinch crushed red pepper

1/2 pound ground beef

1/2 pound ground veal

1/2 pound ground pork

2 large eggs

1 cup grated Parmigiano

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves

1 1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1 cup dill pickles, chopped

1/2 bunch fresh chives, chopped

Serving suggestion: fresh ricotta, grilled garlic bread

Directions

  1. For the marinara sauce: Coat a large saucepot with olive oil and add the pancetta. Bring the pot to a medium-high heat and cook the pancetta for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the onions, season generously with salt and stir to coat with olive oil. Cook the onions for 6 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently. The onions should become very soft and aromatic but have no color. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Pulse to combine the tomatoes in a food processor. Add the tomatoes to the pot and rinse out 1 of the empty tomato cans with water and add that water to the pot (about 2 to 3 cups). Season generously with salt and TASTE IT!!!! Tomatoes take a lot of salt. Season in baby steps and taste every step of the way. Cook the sauce for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally and tasting frequently.
  3. Use the sauce right away on pasta or for any other tomato sauce need. This sauce can also be cooled and stored in the refrigerator for a few days and freezes really well.
  4. For the meatballs: Coat a large saute pan with olive oil, add the onions and bring to a medium-high heat. Season the onions generously with salt and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes. The onions should be very soft and aromatic but have no color. Add the garlic and the crushed red pepper and saute for another 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to cool.
  5. In a large bowl combine the meats, eggs, Parmigiano, parsley and breadcrumbs. It works well to squish the mixture with your hands. Add the onion mixture and season generously with salt and squish some more. Add 1/2 cup water and do 1 final really good squish. The mixture should be quite wet. Test the seasoning of the mix by making a mini hamburger size patty and cooking it. The mixture should taste really good! If it doesn't it is probably missing salt. Add more. Add more anyway.
  6. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
  7. Shape the meat into desired size. Some people like 'em big and some people like 'em small. I prefer meatballs slightly larger than a golf ball. Place them on a cookie sheet and bake them for about 15 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked all the way through. If using right away, add them to your big pot of marinara sauce. If not using right away, they can be frozen for later use. Serve with pasta and sauce or just eat them straight out of the pot! Top with fresh ricotta cheese, garnish with chopped pickles and chives and serve with grilled garlic bread. YUM!