Do you make your own meatballs? Yes? Good for you. Make your own pasta? Even better! If not, you don’t know what you’re missing. Making your own meatballs takes no more time than buying them pre-made and heating them up…assuming that’s all you do with pre-made meatballs. And they’ll taste much better than any store-bought frozen ones. Making your own pasta does take a bit more time so I’ll let you slide on this one. Even I don’t make my own very often.
So…what do I put into my meatballs? Well it’s really my mom’s recipe, although she really doesn’t follow a recipe. It has taken me many trials and error to get them to taste anywhere near as good as hers. With mom, it’s always been a handful of those, a sprinkle of that, a pinch of this. So I’m going to give it to you as my mother did, with approximate measurements to help you along.
MOM’S SICILIAN MEATBALLS
2 lbs/900g lean ground beef/beef mince
4 slices white bread, soaked in milk or water OR 3-4 Tbsp. bread crumbs
1 tsp. each: garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley or to taste
1/4 C. Parmesan, grated
salt & pepper, to taste
Put the beef into a large mixing bowl. Squeeze out as much of the liquid from the bread slices (if using) and add to the beef along with the remaining ingredients. With your clean hands, mix thoroughly. Form into uniform sized balls. I use an ice cream scoop that makes them about the size of golf balls. Feel free to make them any size you wish, as long as they’re all about the same size.
There are two ways you can cook the meatballs prior to adding then to your tomato sauce, either in the oven or the frying pan. For the oven, preheat to about 190c/375f and put the meatballs on a non-stick baking tray and cook for about 20-25 minutes until browned. Remove from the tray and put into a bowl until ready to add to the sauce. In the frying pan, preheat pan and add some olive oil. brown meatballs on all sides and set aside in bowl. I use the oven method as it’s a bit healthier than frying.
If you’re making your own tomato sauce, then add the meatballs to the sauce about 30 minutes before the end of cooking time. You can add the balls to store-bought sauce also for about the same amount of time. Adding the meat to the sauce gives flavor to each from the other.
I’m using sauce that I made previously and jarred. I’m also going to saute some veggies to put into the sauce; onion, garlic, red Italian peppers, mushrooms and whatever else I can find in the fridge! I think I have one (rather small) zucchini left on the plant so I may pull that off and throw it in.
Once it’s cooked and heated through, make your pasta of choice according to package directions and serve with your meatballs and sauce.