1.20.2012

Meatballs and Tomato Sauce

Hello there strangers!  To say it’s been a while would be an understatement.  These past 2 months have been quite the ride; with extreme highs and devastating lows.  But I can say that it has made my relationship with my new husband more loving and stronger then I knew possible.  Both sides of our families have had to deal with tragedy and sickness as well as a number of our close friends; however our most devastating time came earlier this month when we had to make the decision to lay our 12 year old Boston Terrier Boomer to rest.  He became ill around Thanksgiving and his condition only worsened.  Any pet owner can tell you how hard it is to lose an animal, but those of us without our own children feel like we’ve lost a son or daughter.  I take comfort in knowing his spirit is always with us and I look forward to turning on my computer every morning just so I can see his smiling face.  Rest in peace Boomer boy…


Now on to the food part of the blog, which is why you are all here to begin with right?  I’ve featured meatballs on here before and they prove to be one of my most searched recipes to date.  But dare I say these are even better.  Made with a mix of ground chuck, pork and sweet Italian sausage, they are full of flavor yet still surprisingly light.  I like to throw on a pot of my favorite tomato sauce before I begin making these so that by the time the meatballs are done baking the sauce has simmered long enough to develop its flavor.  I then marry the two and let it simmer, covered, in a heavy pot all afternoon.  The meatballs then become even more tender and the sauce turns into something almost magical.

I brought these to a New Year’s pot luck served with grated parmesan and fresh chopped parsley with a side of rolls for the carb lovers…the idea, mini meatball sliders.  They were an instant hit and no one could believe they were Primal.  And for us non-grain eaters, just pop a toothpick in each one and dive in.  Trust me, they’re amazing!


Meatballs and Tomato Sauce
Makes 3 dozen

To make the sauce
1 28oz can of crushed San Marzano tomatoes
1 onion, peeled and chopped in half
4 tablespoons of butter
Salt and Pepper to taste

Add the tomatoes, onion and butter to a large heavy bottomed pot and simmer, covered, for at least 30 minutes.  Discard onion, salt and pepper to taste.  You can also add fresh chopped oregano or basil to finish.

To make the meatballs
1 lb ground chuck
½ lb ground pork
½ lb sweet Italian sausage
3 cloves minced garlic
2 eggs
3 handfuls of pecan meal (around 2 cups)
Fresh chopped parsley and oregano, about 2 tablespoons of each
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper

I prefer to make these in my mixer but they can also be done by hand.  Preheat your oven to 350.  Add the meat, garlic, eggs, herbs, and seasoning to a large bowl.  Mix gently and then slowly add one handful of pecan meal to the mix at a time.  The idea here is to only add as much pecan meal as you need to make the mixture hold together.  If using a mixer, when the meat begins to cling to the paddle you’ve added enough.  Be careful not to over mix.  In the end you will end up using anywhere from 1 ½ cup to 2 cups of pecan meal.

Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil and place a cooling rack on each.  Lightly spray each of the cooling racks with cooking spray so the meatballs don’t stick.  Form the meatball mixture into uniform 1 inch balls (a cookie scoop is great for this) and place onto the greased cooling racks.  Pop the racks into the oven and cook for 20 minutes.

Transfer the meatballs to the pot with the sauce making sure the sauce covers them completely.  Depending on how large or small you make your meatballs you may have some left over.  If that’s the case you can either add another can of crushed tomatoes to the pot or, if you’re like me, freeze them individually on a baking sheet and save them for later.

Serve these on top of shredded zucchini pasta or just eat them alongside a hearty green salad.  Carb lovers can toss them with spaghetti or turn them into sliders or hoagies.  Either way this is sure to be a dish all diets can enjoy.


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