I’be been making meatballs for years. I’ve never made ones that were remarkable, despite the claims of the recipes I read. I think I can say that this meatball is a keeper. The key seems to be to have equal parts “mix” to meat ratio. I used 93% lean beef because I’m adding my own moisture to the meatball as well as taking into consideration what a healthy diet might be.
Set oven to 425.
Mix together in a large stainless bowl eggs, chopped- milk-moistened-white bread (but squeezed out so it’s not drippy-yes dunk and squeeze,) red pepper flakes, garlic powder, nutmeg (important,) fresh finely chopped parsley, salt & pepper, oregano, anise seed and whole milk ricotta.
Add your lean ground beef and mix evenly- this takes more than a stir or two and it’s best to use your hands ( I wear gloves because it gets cold on my hands!)
I measured each meatball to be an ounce by using a tablespoon measure- two tbsp is about an ounce. Rolled them between my palms and places them on a lined, olive oil spritzed baking pan. I baked them for about 15 minutes or until they just began to get a bit of lovely dark browning. Here you dont want to bake the moisture out however, baking them also lets the fat render out and not into your sauce. I’m not above cooking them right in my simmering sauce, mind you, this is just one way with certain health benefits.
As your best-meatballs-ever are cooking, assemble a very simple tomato sauce by buying the best sauce you can find or making your own with fresh skinned tomatoes and adding a can or so of paste, fresh chopped basil, garlic (I used granulated but fresh is fantastic albeit a bit more time consuming) and S & P. It’s really important to taste your food as you go because nothing replaces your own intuition or senses, even a good recipe. So season or add more basil according to your likes. This sauce is clean, soft and bright. (Maybe add a spoon of sugar or honey if your tomatoes are too tangy.)
When your meatballs are done and your sauce is simmering gently, one by one, wisk your meatballs away to your sauce. Let them simmer gently for 15 minutes.
In a favorite large serving bowl, assemble your cooked pasta and olive oil and a ladle or two of sauce. Toss gently, then add more sauce on top and place your meatballs on top. It’s an eye catching fun dish. Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley. Shave a bit of Parmesan on each serving according to each person and their preference. Serve with crusty bread and Chianti and I’m not sure there’s much more a person could ask for. Well there is of course but this is a cooking blog.
If you’re a People-Pleaser-by-nature-sort-of-person, this is your go to dish!