One of my favorite recipes to make is meatballs. Simply, it connects me to my Italian heritage and gives me a warm feeling in the kitchen. As I drop each meatball into the tomato sauce, I think of past generations… wondering what they were thinking about as they made meatballs.
This is an easy recipe that can be thrown together quickly with a few ingredients and some grass-fed ground beef. I intentionally created the recipe with only a smattering of ingredients to inspire myself to make it time and again.
Mama Mia Braised Meatballs is one of my family’s favorite dinners, too. Kamea has fun eating the meatballs because, well, they’re balls. And, Greg? He just chows down without saying much between bites, and then proceeds to lick everyone’s bowl of leftover sauce.
I prefer to serve my meatballs alone in sauce. No pasta. No distractions. It’s healthier that way anyway. This showcases the meatballs as it should. If you think you’ll want extra food for a large appetite, then add a salad beforehand.
Mama Mia Braised Meatballs
Yield 3 to 4 servings
For the Meatballs
- 1 pound grass-fed ground beef
- raw parmesan cheese (about 1/2 ounce… just grate it in and eyeball it)
- 1 pasture-raised egg, slightly beaten
- sprinkling of freshly chopped rosemary
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (<–my favorite grinder)
For the Sauce
- handful diced red onion
- organic grass-fed ghee (<–the best ghee)
- 1 (18 to 20 ounce) jar plain, organic crushed tomatoes
- 1 (18 to 20 ounce) jar organic tomato sauce (this is my favorite)
- Freshly chopped basil or parsley, for garnish
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Sweat the onion in a little ghee, and season with salt and pepper as it’s cooking, in a large braiser-style pot (I use this Le Creuset). Sweating is not sautéing. You want to do this over low to medium-low heat, not browning the onions. I usually let the onions cook about 5 minutes. It’s a good time to make the meatballs while the onion sweats.
- Combine the meatball ingredients gently. Form eight meatballs. Flatten them slightly for better cooking. Set aside.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce to the onions.
- Add the meatballs, cover, and cook for about 30 to 40 minutes over medium-low heat (you want a gentle simmer). The meatballs are likely cooked before that time is up, but it’s important to let tomato sauces cook to mellow out their acidity and infuse the flavors properly.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve the meatballs in bowls with sauce, garnished with fresh basil or parsley (and a little extra raw parmesan, if desired).