Monday Meatballs Pomodoro

Few things are more comforting to me than a big bowl of pasta and it having been a crazy Monday, I can honestly say; comforting is much needed. This is a simple recipe that will instantly bring you back to all those Sundays spent at Nona’s house eating supper with la famiglia (provided you HAVE a Nona and she just happens to make kick ass meatballs). 😜

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For the meatballs:

1 lb lean ground beef
1 egg
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Combine all ingredients, form into balls, bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes (until golden and cooked through).

For the Pomodoro:

1 28oz can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, puréed in food processor
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
3 large fresh basil sprigs
12 oz. bucatini or spaghetti
2 Tbsp. cubed unsalted butter
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino

Heat extra-virgin olive oil in a pan over medium-low heat. Add minced onion, cook, stirring, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add red pepper flakes; cook for 1 minute more. Increase heat to medium, add puréed tomatoes and season lightly with salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce reduces slightly about 20 minutes. Remove pan from heat, stir in basil sprigs, and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring water to a boil. Season with salt; add spaghetti and cook until aldente. Discard basil and heat sauce over low – medium heat; add meatballs and pasta, toss to coat. Remove pan from heat; add butter and cheese; toss until cheese melts. Transfer to warm bowls; serve with more cheese, if desired (to which I say: YES!).

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Nothing beats homemade

One of the not so healthy things I always find myself craving is a meatball sub. Nothing beats the combination of savory meatballs in marinara sauce, tons of melty delicious mozzarella wrapped in a toasty roll. So I decided to give it a try and attempt to make a healthier, lighter version at home so that maybe I can have them more often 😉 I opted for a lean 95, 15 ground beef, brioche buns from the Whole Foods bakery, mozzarella, and baby spinach for a little something green. The sauce is super light and if you have left overs I would highly recommend boiling some noodles and having a bowl of good ol’ spaghetti and meatballs.

This is how they turned out:

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For the meatballs:

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 egg
2 Tbsp. milk
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1/4 cup minced onion
1 tsp.salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped Parsley

Bake at 350 for 25 – 30 minutes.

For the sauce:

1/2 cup olive oil

2 small onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cans crushed tomatoes
2 dry bay leaves

Heat the oil over medium. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Sauté until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, simmer uncovered on low heat until the sauce thickens. Remove the bay leaf, and toss in the meatballs!

What do you think, will you give it a try?