These are damn good meatballs, that’s what I said out loud as I bit into one. I had forgotten how yummy these meatballs are. I originally posted these back in 2010 and I remember doing quite a bit of research in search of the Perfect Meatball, so that’s what I named them. I know it is a pretty strong statement but in my opinion it was true. Today I would simply call them DAMN GOOD MEATBALLS!
The trick to making these meatballs moist and tender is the addition of hot water. I can’t explain exactly how it works. All I can tell you is that it works!
I usually make my tomato sauce first so it will be ready and waiting for the meatballs when they come out of the oven. The tomato sauce is pretty quick and if you have a Trader Joe’s near you I recommend using a can of their marinara sauce in place of the crushed tomatoes. It will add a little more zip to your sauce.
The meatballs won’t be fully cooked when they come out of the oven. They need to simmer in the tomato sauce to finish cooking. It’s important to brown the meatballs before adding them to the tomato sauce. Don’t try to place the raw meatballs straight into the sauce it will not be good! The browning releases a lot of the fat and it also helps the meatballs keep their shape.
The worst part about making meatballs is that greasy sheet pan. I remove that element by lining a sheet pan with foil for easy clean up. Make sure you spray pan coating on the foil so your meatballs won’t stick.
DAMN GOOD MEATBALLS (makes 16 meatballs)
2 pounds ground beef
1/3 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 Tblsp. dry parsley, (2 Tblsp. fresh)
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 large egg
¾ cup warm water
In a large bowl add all the ingredients except the ground beef and mix well. Break up the ground beef into the bowl and mix to blend. Making sure that the seasoning gets evenly mixed into the beef. To make 16 even meatballs, divide the beef into 4. Make 4 meatballs with each section by rolling them in the palms of your hands.
Place the meatballs on a foil lined sheet pan sprayed with pan coating. Bake them in a 425 degree oven for 12 min. and add them to the tomato sauce; simmer the meatballs in the sauce for 15 – 20 min. or until they are cooked through.
Easy TOMATO SAUCE
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
½ med carrot, grated (or ½ tsp. sugar)
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 28 oz. can Italian whole peeled tomatoes
1 28 oz. can Italian crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. crushed pepper (more if you like it spicy)
Place heavy bottom pot over med-high heat. Add 1 Tbsp. oil to the pot and garlic, onions and carrots. Stir to mix and lower heat; cook covered for about 5 minutes or until the onions are very soft. Clear a spot in the middle of the pot and add tomato paste and let cook for about a minute. Stir to mix; add the tomatoes (crush the whole ones with your hands), water, basil, oregano, salt and peppers. Stir to mix and let simmer covered for 30 minutes.