Seasoned beef with a sweet, and mildly acidic, tomato sauce; what’s not to like?
FOR THE MEATBALLS:
- 2 pounds ground beef
- We use 80/20 percent fat ratio
- 2 teaspoons dried garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese (optional)
GET CHEFFY TIP!– The ingredients above are for standard meatballs. Bump up the garlic powder or add additional dried/fresh herbs.
GET CHEFFY TIP!– Beef is just a starting point, and ground pork, veal, chicken, or turkey can all be substituted or blended to create your own unique mixture.
FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE:
- 1 (28 ounce) can of whole peeled tomatoes.
- Crushed, diced, or other varieties work as well. We use “Hunt’s” brand.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar/honey/or other sweetener
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, red wine, or white wine
- Salt and black pepper
GET CHEFFY TIP!– When summer is here, and the garden is producing, use any fresh herbs you can get your hands on like chopped basil, thyme, chives, etc; if you like how it smells, you’ll like how it tastes! The dried oregano is really just a starting point for your meatballs and sauce.
GET CHEFFY TIP!– The olive oil, and balsamic vinegar can be substituted with plain, vegetable oil, (or other oils), and red wine or sherry vinegar. Don’t go out and buy things just to whip together a tomato sauce….see what you can get away with by using what’s already in the pantry.
- Begin by breaking up your ground beef onto a sheet tray. Using two forks to gently pull apart the beef will help keep your hands clean, and allow you to delicately separate the beef so that each piece becomes coated in your seasoning.
- Combine your garlic powder, oregano, salt, shredded parmesan and black pepper and begin to season your beef. Taking the mixture into your hands, and sprinkling high above your sheet pan will help with even distribution of seasoning. Using your two forks, or your hands, combine beef until seasoning mixture is fully absorbed.*
- After you’ve seasoned your beef, take it for a “test drive” by heating your frying pan, and cooking a small portion of your beef mixture (less than one tablespoon should be sufficient). This is your opportunity to taste, and modify, what the finished product will taste like; needs more salt?…toss it in…..needs more garlic…..you’ve got it covered.
- Once your beef mixture is coated, and seasoned to your liking, begin to form your meatballs. The size of the meatball won’t be important, but do try to keep them consistent.
- Turning your burner to medium, allow your pan to heat up until you hear sizzling. Each oven is different, and knowing the strength of your oven is essential here. My gas range is almost too strong at times so, after I hear my meatballs sizzling and my pan is up to temperature, I lower my burner down to its weakest setting. Cook for 5 minutes, or until a crust has formed on the first side of your meatballs.
- Flip the meatballs over, and brown on the second side (another 5 minutes…depending on your ovens strength). Continue this process, and brown your meatballs on their other sides until all areas are well browned. Remove the mea balls from the pan, and drain off any fat that’s accumulated.
- Return your pan to the burner on low setting and add your fresh olive oil and tomato paste. Cook the tomato paste over low heat until the color changes from a bright red, to a rust-colored brown. Add your garlic, oregano, sugar/sweetener and ground black pepper and cook for an additional 30 seconds, or up to two minutes, while your spices bloom in the heat of the pan.
- Add your balsamic vinegar/wine mixture to begin deglazing the pan. Scrape up and browned bits lets from your meatballs.
- Take your 28 oz. can of tomatoes and add the tomatoes, and their liquid, to the pan.*
- You can puree your tomatoes in a food processor beforehand, but a potato masher, or other utensil, can easily crush them up in the pan while they cook.
- After adding your tomatoes to the pan, keep your heat a simmer, while your sauce cooks together; about 5 minutes. Taste for salt at this stage and add/taste until you’re happy with the result.
- Add your browned meatballs back into your tomato sauce and cook for 5 minutes. Flip the meatballs over and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- At this point, you are ready to eat, however, we add chunks of whole milk mozzarella onto each meatball, and other areas of the sauce, and shower it in an additional 2+ tablespoons of parmesan and put under the broiler until the cheese has melted, and light brown/”leopard-spotting” appears on the surface of the meatballs and cheese (2-5 minutes, depending on your broiler).
- Serve this with your favorite pasta or toast up some garlic bread to dunk into sauce.
- Low-carbing? This sauce loves to be served over mushrooms, and vegetables like green beans or roasted cauliflower