FATHERS DAY IS SUNDAY, JUNE 21ST!

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FATHERS DAY IS SUNDAY, JUNE 21ST.!

POPPI’S MEATBALLS! 

Fathers Day comes one day after the summer solstice (June 20, 5:44 P.M. EST. This officially makes it the first full day of the summer season and the longest day of the year:)

My Poppa was easy to please, give him a plate of pasta, have all of us around him, especially the grandkids, good wine, and you had a very happy man!  All he wanted for EVERY occasion was pasta with meatballs! He insisted though that he made the meatballs and sauce which was fine because they were to die!
My dad would always make his famous (in our family anyway) meatballs every Sunday while listening to Tony Bennett’s songs. The house would fill up with the sounds of music and the aroma of the meatballs cooking making everyone excited about the meal to come. I remember it as if it were yesterday all of these happy times gathering family and friends around the dinner table. I’ve continued that tradition to this day, even the Tony Bennett songs! I modified the original method slightly by having the butcher grind a chuck roast fresh instead of purchasing ground meat already packaged, this way the meatballs cook up moist, tender and light. I have also reduced the cooking time of the meatballs in the sauce down from 3 hours to 30 minutes.

Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful Dads!

I love you Poppa!

 

Start by making the sauce first!

SAUCE FOR MEATBALLS

INGREDIENTS

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

1- (28-ounce) can SAN MARZANO tomato puree

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup water

1 packet of STEVIA

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus additional for sprinkling

DIRECTIONS

Heat saucepan on medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Add the olive oil and garlic, and sauté gently until the garlic starts to turn golden on all sides. Be careful not to burn the garlic or the sauce will taste bitter. If this happens discard and start again.

Add the tomatoes, salt, water, Stevia, butter, and red pepper flakes. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. If the sauce looks too thick or gets too thick while simmering add water 1/4 cup at a time. You don’t want it watery, but you do want it to have a silky consistency. Turn off heat and set aside while you make the meatballs. Correct seasoning by adding more salt to taste!

MEATBALLS

2 (3-ounce) sweet Italian sausages, casings removed

2 pounds freshly ground chuck roast

1/2 white onion, cut into pieces

1 celery stalk, cut into pieces

1 small carrot, cut into pieces

1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley

1 cup plain bread crumbs

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup Romano cheese

2 pieces of sourdough bread, crusts removed, torn into shreds

1/2 cup whole milk

1 garlic clove, crushed through a garlic press

1/2 teaspoon table salt

1 egg, slightly beaten

1/4 cup ketchup

1/4 cup olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

Place the sausages along with the ground chuck in a large bowl. In a food processor, pulse to chop the onion, celery, carrot, and parsley until finely chopped. Add the vegetable mixture to the meat. Add the bread crumbs, Parmesan and Romano cheese, bread, milk, garlic, salt, egg, and ketchup.

Using your hands, mix gently until all of the ingredients are incorporated. From twelve 4-ounce meatballs (to help you gauge the size, you can use a 1/4″ inch dry measuring cup) Roll them in your hands to make smooth, round balls. Do not pack them too tightly.

Heat a frying pan until hot, add the olive oil, and swirl the oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the meatballs and brown on all sides; they brown quickly, so watch them and make sure they don’t burn. DO NOT cook them all the way through; they will finish cooking in the sauce. Carefully lift and place them in the marinara sauce you have prepared, and gently simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with your favorite pasta!

 

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