This version is from Guy Fieri — I got his “Food” cookbook for Christmas — and these are some goooood meatballs. Brace yourself for a lot of ingredients, but it’ll be worth it — it results in some pretty amazing flavor. They were juicy, moist and pretty darn spicy. By sauteing the red pepper, onion and garlic first and adding it to the mix, it adds great flavor without having to worry if the veggies will cook through when you’re cooking the meatballs. Nobody likes crunch in a meatball, right?
This is the perfect Italian comfort food meal, and it makes a BIG bowl of pasta. I cut the amount of pasta in half (to one pound) and it was still plenty.
- If you don’t like a spicy meatball (say it in an Italian accent), cut back on the red chili flakes (crushed red pepper flake)
- Cooking these things (meatballs) isn’t easy — some of mine started falling apart. Be patient and turn them gently. And don’t be obsessed with them being perfect spheres. This was my problem. Perfectionist? Maybe…
- I had some leftover homemade marinara in the freezer that I defrosted for the sauce. If you need a recipe, here’s a good one by Giada De Laurentiis. Otherwise, go for a good jarred sauce and doctor it up with some herbs and spices.
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup finely diced red onion
- 1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup 1/2 inch diced sourdough bread cubes
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lb pork sausage
- 2 tbsp minced fresh basil
- 2 tbsp minced fresh oregano
- 2 tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley
- 1 tbsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/3 grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 5 to 6 cups Marinara sauce
- 2 lbs spaghetti noodles
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, for garnish
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the extra virgin olive oil. Cook the onion, bell pepper and chili flakes for 2 min. Add the garlic and salt and cook until tender, about 4 min. Transfer the veggies to a large bowl and let cool.
Meanwhile, pour the milk over the bread and let soak for 5 minutes. Drain off the milk and lightly squeeze the bread, so that it is moist but not wet.
To the bowl with the cooled veggies, add everything (meat, herbs, bread, eggs) and mix thoroughly but gently and shape into 2 inch balls. The more gentle you are, the more tender the meatballs will be.
In the same pan used for the veggies, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Cook the meatballs in batches, browning completely. Continue to cook until the internal temperature reaches 165F or an instant read thermometer.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and bring the cook the spaghetti noodles al dente, according to the package directions. Bring the marinara sauce to a simmer over low heat. Drain the noodles and toss with about 2 cups of the marinara sauce.
Portion individual plates and add more sauce and 3 meatballs per person, and garnish with shredded Parmesan.