My house is filled with notebooks. Some are mine; some belong to my kids. All contain notes, ideas and bits of inspiration. We are a family of creators, a family who jots down thoughts when inspiration strikes, a family who doodles and experiments.
Many of the notebooks belonging to me contain recipe ideas — some are just a description of the dish, some have ingredients lists. Others have full recipes with notes in the margin about what worked and what didn’t. That’s part of how I create recipes: by trying, experimenting, doing it again.
Over the past few years, I’ve shared a few different meatball recipes that worked. Hearty turkey meatballs, for instance, are big and satisfying. They’re the kind of belly-filling meatball perfect for cold winter days. On the other hand, Asian Meatballs Stir-Fry with Peppers is lighter but so satisfying.
Then there’s these meatballs — they’re perfect-sized for filling rolls for a tasty meatball sub. But they are also delicious on pasta.
There’s just something wonderful about homemade meatballs. These are tender, seasoned just so, and simmered in a garlicky marinara sauce. For perfect meatball subs, top them with some piquant shredded asiago cheese and fresh green bell peppers. It creates a symphony of textures and flavors.
These homemade meatballs start with ground beef. The ground beef I use comes from our local farmers market, bought directly from the farmer who grows the cattle. It’s rich and fresh. That’s mixed with shallots, garlic, herbs, salt, pepper, oats and an egg for a flavorful meatball. I always mix with a spoon first and then finish up with my (clean, just-washed) hands.
Once it’s all mixed, form 1-inch meatballs. Be careful with size here — you want these smaller meatballs for filling your sub rolls (you might call them hoagie rolls or grinder rolls, but they’re subs to me). It’s easy to make them too big. Form them by hand, and keep them to a petite 1-inch.
Then you brown the meatballs on all sides. This is important. Browning them ensures that they won’t fall apart once you add the sauce to simmer. Simmering allows the sauce and the meatballs to come together while also completing the cooking process for the meatballs.
For the sauce, I turned to Classico Riserva Pasta Sauce, a new line of premium pasta sauces from Classico. Available in five varieties — Marinara, Eggplant & Artichoke, Roasted Garlic, Arrabbiata and Puttanesca, these sauces have no artificial ingredients or added sugar. And since they are made with vine-ripened tomatoes, herbs, spices, extra virgin olive oil and sea salt, all simmered to a well-balanced fragrant perfection, they are an easy way to make a good meal great. The Roasted Garlic sauce added just the right garlicky flavor to this recipe, and actually had visible bits of garlic in it.
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup rolled oats
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- ½ tbsp unsalted butter
- ½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 jar Classico Riserva Sauce, Roasted Garlic flavor
- 6 sub rolls
- ½ cup freshly shredded asiago cheese (or more, to taste)
- ½ cup finely diced green bell peppers
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the ground beef, shallot, garlic, rolled oats, oregano, basil, egg, salt and pepper. Use your hands to finish mixing, and then form into 1-inch (no larger!) meatballs.
- Once the meatballs are all formed (and your hands are thoroughly washed), heat the butter and olive oil together in a large saute pan (12-inch diameter, with a lid) set over medium heat. Add the meatballs and brown. Turn and continue to brown until all sides are browned.
- Pour the Classico Riserva Sauce into the saute pan, covering all the meatballs. Cover the pan, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Cut open the rolls and fill with meatballs and sauce. Top with asiago cheese and green bell peppers. Enjoy.
Want to try Classico Riserva sauce? One lucky reader will receive three (3) coupons for free jars of this sauce.
To enter, share in a comment how you’d use Riserva sauce to elevate a favorite recipe. You have until June 13, 2016, to enter. One winner will be chose at random, and contacted via email. This contest is open to U.S. residents only. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited.