Italian Meatballs in Vodka Sauce

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 2 hr 15 min
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

One 1 1/2- to 2-pound package fresh meatballs (about 24 meatballs)

1/2 cup vodka 

One 32-ounce jar marinara sauce 

1/2 cup heavy cream 

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 

1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper 

Freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan, for garnish 

Torn fresh basil leaves, for garnish 

Directions

  1. To cook in a slow cooker: Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and add the oil. Add the meatballs and brown on all sides to create a beautiful crust, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the meatballs to a plate. Deglaze the pan with the vodka and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom. Transfer the liquid from the pan to a slow cooker.
  2. Add the marinara sauce, heavy cream, salt and pepper to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Add the meatballs. Cook on high until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce is thickened slightly, 2 to 4 hours. When ready to serve, top with fresh cheese and torn basil leaves.
  3. To cook on the stove top: Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat and add the oil. Add the meatballs and brown on all sides to create a beautiful crust, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the meatballs to a plate, leaving behind as much of the oil in the pot as possible. Add the vodka and cook for about 30 seconds to deglaze the pot, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom.
  4. Add the marinara sauce, heavy cream, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Turn the heat to low, return the meatballs back to the pot and simmer until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce is thickened slightly, 30 to 45 minutes. When ready to serve, top with fresh cheese and torn basil leaves.