July 14, 2017
Meatballs and spaghetti are on everyone’s favorite COMFORT food list. When we were kids growing up in old Hyde Park, my mom served spaghetti and meatballs every couple of months or so – and it was always a special treat.
Mom invited my entire Most Holy Name (in Ybor City) 2nd grade class to appear on the popular WFLA Channel 8 “Uncle Bruce” TV show for kids. After the show, she invited the entire class (including the nuns) for spaghetti and meatballs on the patio at our Newport Avenue home. You can be assured I was popular after that day.
During beach week after 10th grade in my Plant High days, she brought us boys a big pot of meatballs and spaghetti about midway through when she knew our food supply would be low…which it was virtually non-existent…you can imagine 10 guys in a three bedroom house on Indian Rocks beach. When we saw her coming down the walkway, the only thing you could hear was “hide the beer.” She knew well enough not to venture inside our immaculately kept beach house. We ate good that night – the only night really that we had much real food.
Everyone has their own meatball recipe…and over the years I’ve made many different meatball recipes as well. Mom just used beef, no pork, and Ritz crackers instead of bread and milk. I’ve added and subtracted to create this one which I like the BEST. Shoot me an email at RobertKimBailey@hotmail.com and let me know what you think.
- 2 pounds ground beef (80% beef, 20% fat)
- 1 pound ground pork
- 3 cups crust-less white sandwich bread soaked in 1 cup whole milk for 1 hour
- 1 egg
- ½ cup sautéed onions – cooked in 2 tablespoons butter until translucent
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 ½ cups whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (more if desired)
- ½ cup chopped Italian parsley
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic
Combine all the ingredients and smush (a culinary term) together until all ingredient are well combined. Roll into any size you like and place on a baking sheet brushed with extra virgin olive oil. Brush tops of meatballs with extra virgin olive oil as well.
Please in a pre-heated 350 degree oven until done – approximately 25 to 30 minutes. Once done, place in sauce and let cook in sauce on low heat for an hour or so.
MOM’S SAUCE INGREDIENTS
There are many good brands of canned tomato product on the market – I happen to like Hunts, but of course feel free to substitute for your favorite.
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 quart finely chopped onions
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic (more depending on your liking)
- 4 – 28 ounce cans Hunts Crushed Tomatoes
- 1 – 28 ounce can Hunts Tomato Sauce
- 1 – 28 ounce can Hunts Tomato Puree
- 2 – 6 ounce cans Hunts Tomato Paste
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more or less depending on your taste)
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt (more or less depending on your taste)
- ¼ cup sugar (more or less depending on your taste
- 1 cup chopped fresh basil
Melt butter and olive oil in a large heavy bottomed pot. Add onions and cook on low heat until onions are soft and translucent but not brown – add chopped garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook down for 5 to 10 minutes or so – being careful not to brown or burn the garlic.
Add all the tomato sauces and paste, salt and sugar – stir until completely combined. Simmer on medium low heat for approximately 2 hours stirring occasionally. Add the fresh chopped basil and meatballs, and cook on low heat for another hour or so. Let cool completely before re-heating and eating. It will give the sauce and meatballs to meld together intensifying the overall flavors. Better yet, let cool and refrigerate overnight for it is always better the next day.
Top with fresh grated Parmesan or Romano cheese – fresh grated – not from a can.
THE MEATBALL HOAGIE YOU’LL CRY OVER
We all love hoagies, but this meatball sub is to die for. I created this compound butter especially for this meatball sub and I bet you will use this over and over again when serving southern Italian dishes – it will be perfect on any bread. It is important to use siracha powder – and not the sauce – it will intensify the flavor and you will love every bite of this toasted parm bread.
Feel free to go over the top and add mozzarella, or jack, or provolone and bake until bubbly hot – you decide.
GARLIC PARMESAN SIRACHA POWDER BUTTER
- 1 stick salted room temperature
- 2 teaspoons siracha powder (powder, not the sauce)
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 Publix hoagie rolls
Wisk butter, siracha powder, parmesan cheese, and garlic powder until well combined. Liberally spread on both sides of hoagie rolls and broil until golden brown.
Cut meatballs in half and load up your hoagie and top with lots of sauce and freshly grated parmesan cheese.