George’s Meatballs & Sauce
2 lb. ground beef (or any mix of ground protein. Pork, chicken, etc.)
2 28 oz cans of tomatoes: Any brand so long as it says:
“San Marzano: Certified Pomodoro San Marzano Dell’Agro Sarnese-Nocerino”
2 large Onions
a few cloves of garlic
1/2 lb. of Pecorino Romano cheese (big triangle chunk with the heel)
10 oz bag or can of Bread Crumbs
Chop onions and a few cloves of garlic and sweat in a pan on med/high heat.
Onions should be translucent and slightly start to caramelize.
Place tomatoes, along with the liquid contents of the can into a large baking dish, then add the onions and garlic. Add a few generous pinches of salt, a table spoon of sugar, and a tablespoon of dried oregano. You can also add a few leaves of fresh basil. Add a generous splash of olive oil. Place into a 400 degree oven for 30 min.
While this is cooking, you can start working on the meatballs
Combine the ground meat, a cup of breadcrumbs, a cup of shredded Pecorino Romano, and two eggs into a large bowl. (Cut off the heel of the pecorino and save it. This gets used in the sauce later.) Add a generous amount of salt and pepper.
Mix all the ingredients together by hand until you can easily form golfball-sized spheres. (Feel free to add breadcrumbs or eggs depending on if it’s too wet or too dry.) Using your palms, roll out as many meatballs as the mixture will yield. You can make them any size you like, but slightly smaller than golfball sized seems to work best.
Place some canola oil in a skillet, and over med high heat brown the outsides of the meatballs. Don’t cook the meatballs all the way through, this is just for browning the outside in order to get a lovely and delicious maillard reaction. Make sure all sides of each ball are browned. After browning each ball, place it onto a paper-lined cooking sheet.
Place the sheets with the meatballs into a 400 degree oven (you can share the oven with the sauce if it’s still cooking) and cook for 10 to 12 minutes. Don’t over cook the meatballs. Slightly under -cooked is better than over— we’re still gonna cook them some more IN the sauce.)
BACK TO THE SAUCE:
Carefully remove the sauce from oven and transfer to a large pot. Use an immersion blender to mix the cooked chunks into a smooth sauce. You can use a standard blender as well, but it can be tricky to transfer the contents. Be careful. You basically want to get the baked contents into as smooth a sauce as possible.
Once the sauce is smooth and the meatballs are cooked, place the meatballs into the pot with the sauce. Place the heel of the pecorinno into the sauce, and add a few leaves of basil as well. Simmer on very low heat for as long as possible, at least an hour. Stir occasionally.
Make some pasta and enjoy.
[note: When it comes to the sauce, I like to throw bits of fresh basil in at every step of the process. During the final simmer, I’ll toss more and more in every 30 min in or so. I think you can never have too much, but feel free to adjust to your tastes.]