It has spaghetti sauce dribbles all over it and I'M NOT SORRY.
I turned out my first try at meatballs and they came out stellar, stellar I say! I'm not sure why I waited so damned long in the first place. I lived in dread of half cooked or overcooked meatballs that would taste like sawdust and thus, I left all my meatball preparations to someone with more experience.
But since I live with a kid who adores meatballs and I'm celebrating my six year anniversary with an Italian meatball lover, I figured I'd give it a whirl. Wanna know how I did it? (No, Bear Allen, there was no grape jelly involved, mmkay?)
Before we get started, I apologize for the ish directions. I'm not a very accurate cook and pretty much everything is a guestimate. Are you ready? Good. Get the following crap together.
1lb each of ground turkey, pork, and beef. I think I might have used a pound and a half of beef though.
2 shallots, minced
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parm, romano, and/or asiago. I went with romano.
5 cloves of garlic, minced (more or less depending on how many syllables you have in your last name and/or if it ends in a vowel)
Mix all of that together in a big old bowl, squishing all up in there for a good few minutes. It helps that you're using three types of meat because it's easier to see if it's well blended between all the various hues of well, you know, meat slop. Roll it up into decent sized balls, plop on a baking sheet, and slide in the oven at 400 until they look meatballish. Mine took about 20 minutes. Oh, and don't forget the salt and pepper.
Now for the sauce. I should call it the Somewhere Between Giada and Sandra Lee Sauce. There are no fresh tomatoes involved but I didn't pour in two cans of ragu, grate some cheese on top, and call it Semi Homemade either. (My FIL used to call it Mostly Store-bought. I miss that man.) So maybe it's in Rachel Ray territory. Of course mentioning Food Network people is probably not a ringing endorsement but whatever, this shizz is tasty, okay? Give it a while.
But first, you'll need the following:
one green pepper, diced
four cloves of garlic, minced (see Italian rule above)
2 lrg cans of stewed tomatoes
2 lrg cans of crushed tomatoes
2 small cans of diced tomato
2 small cans of tomato sauce
1/4 cup of tomato paste
a half cup or so of red wine (cheap is fine)
1 tbsp each of thyme, basil, and oregano
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp of sugar
One onion, diced unless you happen to have half a red onion and half a vidalia onion hanging around, then use that.
one jar of roasted red pepper, diced and juices saved (or you could not be a lazy heifer and roast two yourself. It's super easy, I swear and probably cheaper. Just burn it on high in the oven, put in a paper bag to cool, then strip off the burned skin and carry on with your bad self. Not burned. Charred. I apologize. Charred.)
If I was feeling really sassy, I would have chopped up four slices of bacon, cooked them up, slid the pieces down my gullet, and used the bacon grease as a starter. But I was feeling lazy, as per usual, and dropped a bit of olive oil in the pan instead.
I cooked down the onion and green pepper with a little salt and pepper first. Then I added the garlic and the herbs. Next came the red pepper and the wine. I let that cook for a bit before squeezing in the tomato paste as mine comes in a tube resembling toothpaste that might have grossed me out the first time I used it.
Once that's bubbling all nicely, dump in all that tomato crap, the chili powder, and the sugar. Taste to make sure you aren't horribly offended and tweak as necessary. As a hint, it always needs more pepper. I have no idea why but if you can't figure out what tastes off, that's usually what is it, lack of pepper.
Then you just let it simmer low and slow until it's all thick and tasty and gloriously red. Then dump in your meatball masterpieces and let it simmer a bit more.
Boil up some pasta and bask in the glow of awesome.