Any idiot can boil water and produce a few spaghetti noodles. Toss them around with instant sauce and you can almost call that a meal. But we all know the meatballs (from ‘spaghetti and meatballs’ fame) are the real stars of the show. We asked Rodney Bowers, owner of Toronto’s Hey Meatball, how to go about making the kinds of meatballs your Italian friend’s grandmother used to make.
- 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 2lb. ground beef
- 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1 large egg, slightly beaten
- 1/2 tsp salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 5-6 dashes hot pepper sauce
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/3 cup milk
- 3 tbsp second press olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 16 oz can organic tomatoes
- 10 basil leaves, chopped
- 1/4 cup flour (to dust meatballs with)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Combine ground beef, egg, salt, pepper, hot pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce and half the cheese in a large bowl.
- Warm milk in a pot on low heat until it’s slightly warmer than body temperature. Stir it into breadcrumbs, making a panade.
- Add panade to meat mixture, combining well.
- Shape mixture into 1/2″-3/4″ balls. Place in fridge.
- In a deep pan or low pot saute onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add tomatoes and basil. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove meatballs from fridge and dust with flour. Shake off any excess.
- In a separate pan on medium-high heat, add olive oil and shallow fry meatballs until golden.
- Drain meatballs on paper towels. Add to sauce, cover pan and cook in oven for 20 mins. For a sub, spoon sauce onto Italian rolls and top with remaining parmigiano or some mozzarella di bufala for a gooey effect. Alternatively, add some to fresh spaghetti.