Meatballs are always a winner at my house. My kids probably request them at least every other night. This version right here is probably my favorite to make because I combine both ground beef and sweet Italian sausage for extra flavor. This time, we ate ours over gnocchi (those little potato dumplings that cook up in about 3 minutes), but you most certainly could serve them over pasta too. Either way, it’s meatball night and your family will be so happy! (And you’ll be delighted in how easy this recipe is!)
This recipe serves four to six.
1 pound of sweet Italian sausage
1 pound of ground beef
salt and pepper
1 onion, divided (you’ll grate half for the meatballs with your cheese grater and chop the other half for the sauce)
3 garlic cloves, mashed
1 cup of plain breadcrumbs
1/4 cup of milk
3 tablespoons of Italian seasoning blend, divided
1 cup of Parmesan cheese (plus a bit more for garnishing)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
1 (28 oz) can of whole tomatoes (I love San Marzano)
1 (15 oz) can of tomato sauce
2 (16 oz) packages of gnocchi
chopped basil to garnish
chopped parsley to garnish
In a large mixing bowl, add in your sausage, ground beef, pinch of salt and pepper, grated onion (just use a cheese grater and grate it right over the bowl), your three smashed garlic cloves (smash them with the back of your knife until they’re like a paste), eggs, breadcrumbs, milk, two tablespoons of Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese. Combine this mixture with your hands or a wooden spoon until it’s all incorporated.
Next, in a large skillet or big pot over medium-high heat, add in about 3 tablespoons of EVOO. Quickly take your meatball mixture and make small meatballs out of it and place them in your hot skillet (it’s okay if you crowd them just a bit). Allow your meatballs to cook up in your skillet until browned on all sides (about 8 to 10 minutes). Don’t mess with them too much, just flip them over when one side is browned in order to brown the next side. Once your meatballs look nice and browned, reduce the heat to low and add in the other half of your onion (chopped into pieces instead of grated), your whole tomatoes, tomato sauce and remaining tablespoon of Italian seasoning blend right inside the pot. Using a wooden spoon, press down on the large tomatoes to break them up a bit. Allow the tomato sauce to simmer right there with your meatballs another 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring another large pot of water up to a boil and then drop your gnocchi down inside. The gnocchi only takes about 3 to 4 minutes to heat up. Once they’re cooked, drain the water and reserve the hot gnocchi.
To plate your supper, add a big spoonful of gnocchi followed by several meatballs and sauce along with a garnish of Parm and chopped basil and parsley.
The key here is to make sure your meatballs aren’t too big. They’ll cook up faster if they’re not.
Your family will love this little recipe!