On top of spaghetti zucchini, all covered with cheese tomato sauce, I found my poor meatball, then somebody sneezed! Remember that bizarro song from childhood? It pops in my head when I make meatballs. I'm strange.
I love meatballs and have great success making 'balls on their own, but as soon as I put them in sauce they turn out misformed and mushy. These meatballs are our new house meatball - the secret is baking in a pan where the meatballs are crammed in and touching each other - no space is needed- they keep their shape and shrink only slightly while cooking. Thanks, The Meatball Shop Cookbook for that amazing tip. I topped the meatballs with the quick sauce I made the other week, without the added meat, and with another bottle of strained tomatoes/passata.
meatballs (with kale!)
2 lbs grass-fed ground beef
1 strip smokey bacon, finely diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1/2 cup lacinato kale, finely chopped
1 tsp fennel pollen (or fennel seed, ground)
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper, fresh ground
2 tbsp olive oil
Preheat oven to 400F. Prepare square baking dish by oiling with 2 tbsp olive oil on sides and bottom.
In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients with your hands, do not overwork but ensure all ingredients are well incorporated. Using wet hands, lightly roll meatballs into the size of golfballs, place into square baking dish, making sure each 'ball is packed in tightly (see photo below). Continue until meat mixture is finished.
Bake meatballs for 20 minutes, or until starting to form a crust. Drain fat from dish. Top meatballs with tomato sauce so that sauce is halfway up the side of each meatball - about 4 cups of sauce. Bake for another 15 minutes.
Serve with the extra sauce on top of zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.