When we all planned to gather at Mira’s for a meatball throwdown in early December (after, it must be said, a lot of “your momma’s meatballs” smack talk), I had a vague idea as to what I was gonna do, and that was that – I mean, c’mon – December 4 is AGES away, right?
Thinking it MIGHT be a good time to test out some of my ideas, and thinking (rightly) that Rich will never say no to spaghetti and meatballs, I gathered my stuff and set to work.
This recipe is actually a mash-up of two different meat-and-stuff-molded-together-then-baked recipes: Rich’s mom’s very nice meatball recipe, and Mary Beth Albright’s buttermilk meatloaf; both with things added, subtracted, and generally hammered together to make what I thought could be a pretty darned tasty little ball o’ meat.
I was correct; still needs a tweak or two before I roll it out December 4, but quite tasty.
•1 lb ground beef
•12 oz Italian bulk sausage – I used sweet ’cause that’s what was in the freezer
•1 tbsp olive oil
•3 onions, diced
•3 garlic cloves, diced
•Celery and carrots, diced – I didn’t keep track here – but it was enough to make about 5 cups of veggies with the onion and garlic
•1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
•1/3 cup sourdough breadcrumbs – I toasted slices for about 20 minutes at 350º, then pulsed ’em through the food processor
•1 cup buttermilk – no buttermilk? no worries! here’s a substitute
•1/2 tsp salt
•1/2 tsp pepper
•1/2 tsp Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute
Heat your oven to 350º and line two baking pans with aluminum foil.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan and add the onion, garlic, celery, and carrots. Sauté for about twenty minutes, until the onions are becoming translucent and the celery is still a bright green. Set aside to cool.
Stir the breadcrumbs into the buttermilk and allow to soak for five minutes or so.
Combine the beef and the sausage meat together in a large bowl, then mix in the salt, pepper, seasoning, cheese, and buttermilk and breadcrumb mixture.
Add in your cooled, cooked veggies and mix to combine – this is gonna be messy, but you really do have to use your hands, sorry.
Since these are planned for spaghetti sauce, I deliberately kept the seasonings mild, but feel free to adjust to your tastes.
Using a measuring scoop, shape your meatballs and place them on the foil-lined baking pans – I used a 2 tbsp scoop and got 34 meatballs perfectly sized for dinner use. For appetizers, or if you’d just like smaller portions, use a 1 tbsp scoop.
Bake for 30 minutes, until done, and set aside to cool.
I put aside two bags of ten in the freezer for a quick dinner or two, then added the rest to a jar of sauce and a bit of the outer edge of some Balsamic BellaVitano cheese. Served over linguini and topped with a bit of grated parmesan, some more of that BellaVitano cheese, and crushed red pepper, they made for a fine and dandy dinner with a side salad topped with some of my new favorite Thousand Island dressing and a nice sprinkling of black pepper.
This is one nice meatball, not perfect – YET – but nice.