Making good meatballs to go with your favorite pasta dish can be an art. It's one, I admit, I haven't exactly mastered.
My meatballs often taste too much like an overcooked hamburger, and I've heard from other cooks I know that this can be a common problem. So, for this article, I went to the expert - Mom.
My mom, Beryl Debias' meatballs are always hearty in size, a great compliment to any Italian dish and delicious.
Tribune Chronicle / Brenda Linert
Beryl Debias rolls meatballs at her home in western Pennsylvania. Debias rolls the meatballs into a good size, at least 1 1/2 inches and then browns them briefly in a 400-degree oven.
While visiting her home in western Pennsylvania over the holiday weekend, we got down to business.
One of the keys to making good meatballs is to add a good amount of bread crumbs. While many people add grated parmesan cheese, mom does not.
Mom always adds finely chopped onion to her meatballs, but on this day she took a short cut - she chose to use a handful of frozen, chopped onion that she picked up in the frozen vegetable section of the supermarket. It's a good shortcut because it saves time and tears from chopping onions, and once the meatballs were done, no one would ever know the difference.
1 to 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
1 medium onion
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix ground beef, egg, bread crumbs, cheese, garlic, onion powder and pepper. Roll meat into 1 1/2 inch medium-sized meatballs and place on nonstick cookie sheet or a cookie sheet greased with extra-virgin olive oil. Bake balls 10 to 12 minutes, until no longer pink. Add to spaghetti sauce and simmer at least 20 minutes.
Mom rolls the meatballs into a good size, at least 1 1/2 inches, and then browns them briefly in a 400-degree oven. Some recipes I've seen call for broiling meatballs, but mom simply bakes them. She suggests being careful not to overcook, thereby making them too hard. Ten to 12 minutes should suffice. After she pulls them from the oven she immediately adds them to the pasta sauce which she already has simmering in a large pot.
By the time she adds the meatballs, mom has already had the sauce simmering for hours, her standard rule to making it good and thick. Still, the meatballs will simmer in the sauce for at least another 30 minutes, or even longer. Be sure to stir frequently.
Once the pasta is boiled and ready to go, so too are the sauce and meatballs.
Serve your pasta dinner with garlic bread or Italian bread, and enjoy!