What’s not to love about meatballs stewed in tomato sauce? It’s a timeless combination, no? I love to cook variations of a recipe I originally picked up from Jamie Oliver (I’m a big fan of his cookbooks). My original adaptation of the recipe is posted here. The other day, I remade it with some changes to the meatballs — there are so many directions you can go and still have it be delicious, as long as you don’t use spices that will conflict with your tomato sauce. The other major difference was the use of a big bunch of arugula instead of basil to add more body (I’m guessing that kale would be good as well).
For this variation, I created a simple tomato sauce that combined 20 oz of peeled san marzano tomatoes with some sauted onions and garlic, ground savory, dried oregano, a splash of red wine vinegar, and seasoned with salt and pepper.
1+ lb of ground beef
2 slices of italian / farm bread, pulsed into breadcrumbs
1/2 cup of finely chopped parsely
1 tbsp dried mexican oregano
pinch of hot red pepper flakes
healthy pinch of salt
Combine everything and mold the mixture into meatballs. I made 9, each about an inch and a half in diameter. Then brown them in an oven-proof pan and then turn off the heat when browning is complete.
Once the meatballs are ready to go and the tomato sauce meets your approval, turn off the heat to the tomato sauce and stir in a large bunch of torn arugula leaves (my guess is about 5 oz worth – considerably more than the amount of basil that went into the original recipe).
Pour the tomato sauce over the meatballs and add some chunks of mozarella cheese.
Place in an oven preheated to 400F and cook for 20 minutes.