My mother makes the best tomato sauce and meatballs. Her meatballs are tender and tastes very italian. My father would often sneak a meatball or two right out of the frying pan, I followed suit. Technique is important here. Handling the meat lightly yet mixing evenly is the key to a lighter moist meatball, Pressing too hard will make it dense and bouncy. Even though fresh garlic seems a must in meatballs, it doesn’t agree with me and I rely on the tomato sauce to impart just the right amount of garlic. Go ahead and add it if you please. Oh the only difference between my mother’s meatball and the recipe here is the pre-softened onions, momma uses fresh diced onions.
1/2 small onion, minced
1/3 cup milk
2 lbs. chopped meat (sirloin and chuck mix is a good choice)
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 cup grated Romano cheese
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1. Place onion and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, once the onions are translucent remove from heat and cool slightly.(Or soften in microwave if you prefer.)
2. Mix the onions with the remaining ingredients until evenly blended. Be careful not to let the onion/ hot milk mixture touch the egg directly to avoid cooking the egg. Shape into approximately 2 inch meatballs, using a light touch when handling meat.
3. Fry meatballs in a lightly greased pan turning the meatballs when golden on bottom using a spatula, brown on all sides. Or bake in oven set at 375 º F, until just browned on outside.
4. Place the cooked meatballs into a well mixed tomato sauce and cook for 1/2 hour on medium heat stirring gently and only when needed. Then simmer and stir occasionally for 2 1/2- 3 1/2 hours more.
Note: Some cooks place raw meatballs right into the tomato sauce. I have tried that method only once and never again. The texture is a different type of soft and the lack of caramelization alters the taste.