I am not Italian, although, I often get asked if I am. I have never been to Italy, the closest I have gotten is watching the Real Housewives of New Jersey on TV, trashy, I know. If you are Italian and grew up with homemade sauce made from backyard tomatoes that stewed all day long, my apologies for today's post. I am all about quick and easy in the kitchen and my version of Italian meatballs with red sauce is both.
This is how the meal played out…. I had a 1lb. package of sausage and about 1lb. of grass-fed ground beef in the fridge. What to make, what to make, were my thoughts. It was nearing 5pm, so time was not on my side. Both boys were complaining of already being hungry. They eat lunch at school when I am eating breakfast, which is around 11am. When they get home I urge them not to snack and instead ask them to wait for dinner which most days is between 5-6pm.
My first thought was meatloaf. I paged through The Joy of Cooking and How To Cook Everything for a quick recipe. No dice. A two-pound meatloaf would take an hour and we were all hungry. Then I thought, chili. Only one problem, boy number one, does not like chili. It's not usually a problem because my rule is if you don't like it, you are on your own. However, I wanted to eat together this night. Next thought, ditch the meat and make protein waffles with eggs and bacon. Nixed that thought quickly as it required standing at the waffle maker for a half hour and I had a 9 month old baby on my hands, who was wanting some attention (babysitting gig).
And then it dawned on me, meatballs. Make them small and they will cook fast and surely I can use the almighty Vitmix to whip up a sauce. I didn't follow a recipe, but threw the dice and I got a pair of aces!
You'd be amazed what an egg and a little parmesan, asiago, romano cheese can do to pork and beef! And the sauce, oh the sauce, turned out perfect. It had just the right amount of garlic, a little sweet and spicy and no chunks. Son number one will not eat anything with chunks (or onion), probably why he doesn't like chili. It's the chunks!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
- (2) 14.5 oz. Cans Diced Tomatoes with Basil and Garlic
- 5 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
- 1 tsp. Celtic Sea Salt
- 1/2 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
- 1 tsp. Dried Basil
- 1 Garlic Clove
- 1/2 tsp. Dried Oregano
- Liquid Stevia (to taste — optional, see note below)
- 1 lb. Fresh Pork Italian Sausage
- 1 lb. Grass Fed Ground Beef
- 3 oz. Parmesan, Asiago, Romano Shredded Cheese Blend
- 1 Large Egg
- Throw all sauce ingredients into high-speed blender and blend on high for one minute (if you have a Vitamix with the soup variable like I do you can skip step 2).
- Pour sauce into saucepan, bring to boil then reduce heat to simmer while meatballs bake.
- In a bowl, mix together pork, beef, cheese and eggs with your hands.
- Roll into 2 oz. balls and place each meatball into lined muffin tin.
- Bake at 375°F for 22 minutes or until internal temp is 160°F.
- Plate meatballs, smother in sauce, top with fresh or dried basil and a sprinkle of cheese.
*Edit Added 11/13/2011 – I have gotten a few questions on the stevia added to the sauce and whether or not it is necessary. For my taste buds, I agree, the stevia is not necessary. However, I have a very picky 17 yr. old who will only eat spaghetti sauce that “grandpa” makes; doctored up Ragu, which is rather sweet. I convinced him to try the sauce and told him it was better than grandpa's. He reluctantly did and ate two plates of meatballs smothered in sauce. Now, I don't usually cater to either of our teenage boys; in our house, if you don't like what I make then you make your own, however, I really wanted to sit down as a family without complaints and have a meal together.
Who are they? Why, they’re the Food Renegades. You know who you are — lovers of SOLE (Sustainable, Organic, Local, and Ethical) food, traditional food, primal food, REAL food, the list goes on. I believe that by joining together, our influence can grow, and we can change the way America (and the industrialized world) eats!