Meatballs Are the Answer

It doesn’t matter what the question is.

However, today it’s quite likely that the question is: what can I do to break out of this Hurricane-Sandy induced funk?

Meatballs.

Well, you could make meatballs.  Because then all those gale force winds you’ve been hearing, and that dreary grey sky you’ve been staring at for ages would be forgettable.  Things of the past.  You’d have steamy, comforting, two-bite meatballs in front of you, and all would be right with the world.

You could even make some extras to keep in your freezer.  For the next natural disaster.

These are some of the simplest meatballs I’ve ever made.  So simple, in fact, that I was concerned they’d be lacking in the flavor department.  Not so.  The few little grates of nutmeg you sprinkle into the mix make all the difference in the world.  They give the meatballs a warmth that’s often elusive when dealing with large chunks of ground meat.

These are also very much weeknight meatballs.  There’s nothing persnickety about them.

And if you’re looking to shake up your weeknight, they don’t need to be served with spaghetti.  Rice, polenta, even couscous would all work equally well.

So clear some space on your table and get to work.  It will seem like the sun is shining in no time.

To make about 4 dozen (give or take) meatballs, you will need:

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 slices white bread, crusts removed
  • splash of milk
  • 1/4 C parsley
  • salt
  • pepper
  • nutmeg

To make sauce for half the meatballs, you will need:

  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • olive oil
  • red pepper flakes, if you’re feeling spicy
  • salt
  • 1, 28 oz. can tomatoes (diced, crushed, whole that you crush with your hands, it doesn’t much matter)

In small bowl, tear bread into bite sized pieces and pour 2-3 T milk on top.  Let bread and milk soak for a minute or two, then pick the bread up with your hands and squeeze the excess liquid out.  Then, combine the meats, eggs, bread, parsley, salt, pepper and nutmeg (to taste) in a large bowl.  Mix everything together with your hands until combined.  Place mixture in fridge to chill and get started on the sauce.  Imagine how with-it your day would be if you could get this step done in the morning, and only had to come home to finish things off.

Heat garlic, red pepper flakes, and oil in heavy bottom skillet over medium heat.  Let cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is fragrant and starting to brown.  Pour in tomatoes and wait for things to come to a simmer.  Add salt to taste, and let things hang out over medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes.

Remove meat from refrigerator.  Form small meatballs (2 inches in diameter at the most) with your hands.  Tuck half of them into the sauce, cover, and let cook for 25 more minutes.  No peeking!  Spend the time you would have been prodding things along shaping the remaining half of the meatballs, and packing them into airtight containers.  Freeze them to have in case of emergency.

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