homemade Meatball & marinara for 12 people

  • Meatballs
  • 2 1/4cups (about 6 ounces) panko bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2cups buttermilk (see note)
  • 3large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2pounds 85 percent lean ground beef
  • 1pound ground pork
  • 6ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped fine
  • 3ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 6tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 3medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 1/2teaspoons powdered gelatin, dissolved in 3 tablespoons cold water
  • Table salt and ground black pepper
  • Sauce*
  • 3tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2cups grated onion from 1 to 2 onions (see note)
  • 6medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/2teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1teaspoon dried oregano
  • 6cups tomato juice (bottled)
  • 3(28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 6tablespoons dry white wine
  • Table salt and ground black pepper
  • 3pounds spaghetti
  • 1/2cup minced fresh basil leaves
  • 3tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
  • Granulated sugar
  • Parmesan cheese, grated, for serving


FOR THE MEATBALLS: Place wire racks in 2 foil-lined rimmed baking sheets. Adjust oven racks to lower-middle and upper-middle positions and heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine bread crumbs and buttermilk in large bowl and let sit, mashing occasionally with fork, until smooth paste forms, about 10 minutes.

Add eggs, beef, pork, prosciutto, Parmesan, parsley, garlic, gelatin mixture, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to bread-crumb mixture. Using hands, gently mix until thoroughly combined. Lightly form about ¼ cup mixture into 2-inch round meatball (about 2 ounces); repeat with remaining mixture to form approximately 40 meatballs.

Spray wire racks with nonstick cooking spray and place meatballs, evenly spaced, on racks; roast until browned, about 30 minutes, rotating trays from front to back and top to bottom halfway through.

FOR THE SAUCE: While meatballs roast, heat olive oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden around edges, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, and oregano; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomato juice, crushed tomatoes, wine, 1½ teaspoons salt, and pepper to taste. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes

Remove meatballs from oven and lower oven temperature to 300 degrees. Gently add meatballs to sauce, cover pot, and place in oven. Cook until meatballs are firm and sauce has thickened, about 1 hour

TO SERVE: Stir basil and parsley into sauce and adjust seasoning with sugar, salt, and pepper. Toss pasta with 1½ cups sauce until lightly coated. Serve pasta, passing meatballs, remaining sauce, and grated Parmesan separately.

*or you can doctor up your favorite marinara sauce. I used White Linen (3 jars and 1 1/2 jar of water). Added in 8 cloves of garlic (we like garlic) . Added 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, teaspoon dried italian seasoning. Salt and Pepper


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