Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Best Meatballs You've Ever Had

The best cookbook I ever received was Tyler Florence's Real Kitchen from my best friend Marcella when I was first married. Tyler always does something unexpected in his cooking, and the results are flawless. Nowadays I cook for more than just myself and my young husband. Today, for example, I made lunch for about 25 airmen who have just arrived in England. Whatever the number of friends at the table, Tyler's recipes are still a staple in my kitchen. This is my take on his ultimate spaghetti and meatballs in Tyler's Ultimate

1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 cup milk
4 slices white bread, crusts removed and cut into chunks
1.5 pounds ground grass-fed beef
1.5 pounds ground pork
1 egg
4 ounces parmesan cheese, grated
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
olive oil
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2, 28-ounce cans plum tomatoes
1 bunch fresh basil

1 pound spaghetti

To make the tomato sauce, heat the olive oil in a large sauce pot and cook the onion and garlic over medium heat for about five minutes. Drain the tomatoes, reserving about 1/2 cup of the juice. Hand crush the tomatoes and add them and the juice to the pot. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes. Stir in the leaves from several fresh sprigs of basil.

While the sauce is cooking, get on with the meatballs. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet and cook the onion, garlic and parsley until soft and fragrant. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, dredge the bread in milk in a small bowl and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the pork and beef with the egg, the cooled onion mixture and the parmesan. Squeeze the excess milk from the bread and work it into the meat mixture. Season well with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 Centigrade) and set out a large baking dish.

Shape the meat mixture into balls about one to two inches in diameter. Heat a two-count of olive oil over medium high heat. Sear the meatballs on all sides until brown and crispy. Transfer to the baking dish. When finished, spoon over about half of the tomato sauce. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and place into the oven.

Cook for 30 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through. Garnish with fresh, hand torn basil. Serve over pasta or with crusty French bread as an appetizer.


  1. I'm so glad you're cooking such wonderful meals for the airmen and airwomen! You are amazing.

    1. Thank you, dear! Wish I could have you in my kitchen right now cooking and eating with me.