Good Ol’ Meatballs

I have a habit of buying ground beef or turkey, using a little bit of it, freezing the rest, and forgetting about it for…months? years? until the next time we move? I’m trying to be better about rescuing it before that point, though, and so when I found myself with some odds and ends recently — a little turkey, a little beef — I decided to thaw them overnight and see where inspiration took me.

It was still tomato season at the time (…shortest tomato season ever? I can’t believe how sad tomatoes look already!) and so inspiration took me to a good old-fashioned spaghetti and meatballs.


I’ve used Bittman‘s basic meatball recipe as a starting point more than once, and it’s never done me wrong. This time, I split the meat between beef and turkey, whisked an egg in with the milk before soaking the bread, and substituted basil for parsley.

While we made the meatballs, I started a batch of Smitten Kitchen’s cherry tomato sauce — convenient because the meatballs could slide right into the oven for the last few minutes. We served it all over some Community Grains pasta, which was pretty darn tasty (if a little thicker and overall just grain-ier than we’re accustomed to).

Now I have about a dozen meatballs frozen in the fridge. What to do? Meatball subs? A not-entirely-accurate meatball bahn mi?

Good Ol’ Meatballs
(Adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything

1 lb. ground meat of your choice (I used 1/2 beef, 1/2 turkey)
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 thick slice white bread, torn into chunks
1/2 c. milk
1 egg
1/2 c. parmesan cheese
10-12 basil leaves, slivered
salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 350

2. Whisk the egg and the milk together. Soak the bread chunks in the mixture until soggy.

3. Gently squeeze out the bread and combine it with the ground meat, chopped onion, parmesan, basil, salt and pepper.

4. Form into 1-inch meatballs (I think I got 18 or so?)

5. Bake on a lightly greased baking sheet for 7-8 minutes.


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