Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mama Maroni That's A Tasty Meatball!

Bobby Flay had another Throwdown that interested me. It was about meatballs. While I've had a pretty good recipe for a number of years from a friend of mine that loves to cook. I've always wished the meatballs were a bit more tender. The commercial for the meatball throwdown talked about tender meatballs. I had to watch.

My experience from past Throwdowns was the winning recipe if not Bobby's would not be on the Food Network website. I could understand that. It's their livelihood. Therefore, I record the show, so I can take copious notes. In an effort to get the winning recipe as close as I can. Just for giggles I decided to see if the winning recipe Grandma Maroni's Meatballs was on the Food Network site. To my great surprise it was.
1 pound ground chuck
4 ounces dried bread crumbs
4 large eggs
4 ounces whole milk
6 ounces grated Romano
3 ounces grated Spanish onion
2 ounces finely diced fresh garlic
2 ounces finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
2 ounces finely chopped fresh basil leaves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray.
Mix all ingredients thoroughly in large bowl. If mixture seems a little loose add more bread crumbs.

Roll meatballs loosely about the size of a golf ball and place on baking sheet. Place into preheated oven for approximately 35 to 40 minutes. Serves 8-10 Enjoy!

It is slightly different than the notes I took from the show. Some ingredients Mike Maroni told the viewer some I guessed on. Here is the recipe I made.
Lynne's Throwdown Meatballs
1 pound ground chuck
4 large eggs
4 ounces Pecorino Romano
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
4 T finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup grated onion

Mix by hand. Make meatballs 1 1/2 ounces about the size of an egg. Bake in a hot oven (425 degrees F).

All ingredients ready for mixing.

How it looked after hand mixing. A great challenge for me as I hate to get my hands sticky and gooey, but combining in a mixer makes the meatballs tough. I've tried it. Worth getting your hands dirty for a good meatball!
I love to use my cookie scoops when I need to measure out a ball of something. Mike Maroni said each meatball should be about 1 1/2 ounce. Being a stickler for good meatballs I weighed each one since there weren't going to be many.

I measured the meatballs out onto my Silpat. I normally bake them on a Silpat, because in the past I use a very lean burger. This recipe using a ground chuck made me change my mind to something with a lip to catch any dripping.

This silicone pan has a lip and I needed it! There was a lot of fat to catch after baking.

I made the meatballs using the above notes/recipe and they were fabulous. The only thing I'd change is they were a bit loose. They didn't fall a part, but they were a bit mushy in the mouth. I would bump up the bread crumbs to 1 cup next time. The recipe made 23 meatballs. The meatballs just melted in your mouth they were so tender and flavorful. I've found that Romano cheese is a must. I've used Parmesan in the past as I usually have it on hand, but the Romano has a stronger flavor that really gives the meatballs a delicious flavor.

The sauce I use is one my cooking friend also gave me. It's very basic and fast. I can make this sauce in the time it takes me to prepare dried pasta. I haven't bought bottle sauce in years.

DeAnn's Tomato Basil Sauce

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
4 tablespoons minced fresh basil, about 1 handful
4 cups canned crushed tomatoes

Saute' onion, garlic and basil in olive oil until onion is soft. Add tomato sauce and simmer about 30 minutes. Sauce freezes nicely.

I brought the sauce to a good simmer for about 30 minutes.

The meatballs were done by now and I dropped them into the sauce.

I was surprised at how close my sauce was to Maroni's Sauce.

6 ounces good olive oil, not extra-virgin
12 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 large or 2 medium Spanish onions, finely diced
2 (28-ounce) cans imported crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white or black pepper
1 large handful julienned
fresh basil leaves

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add oil. Once heated add the finely sliced garlic and onions to the pan. Cook over medium heat until soft and slightly brown. Next add the canned crushed tomatoes, salt and pepper and stir. Allow the sauce to come to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the julienned basil.

The end result with my 2 recipes for sauce and meatballs were perfection! Delightful tender savory meatballs and a light yet flavorful sauce to accompany them... a meal fit for company, but we ate it all ourselves.


jan said...

I just planted tomato plants and basil, just enough for fresh tomatoes with some left over to make simple tomato sauces. I just copied this one for later in the summer.

Anonymous said...

I ate at Maronis his meatballs were awesome. Made them at home a few times they were great. Today i used a scale to be accurate they came out awfull. Basil, parsley and garlic at 2oz apiece way too much. A whole clove of garlic is 2oz, i used about 1/2 oz of fresh basil and fresh parsley. Maybe it was a liqoud oz. i thought weight.