Meatballs. Yep, meatballs. Who doesn’t grow up eating meatballs?
Sure, they might not seem like the sexiest dish. They weren’t when I was growing up. But as an adult, I’m finding a new love for them. They’re easy to make and you can keep them on the cheap or get fancy like the one night Naomi slipped creminis into a batch and didn’t tell me until afterwards—she knows I hate mushrooms.
Yes, we are constantly battling it out in the kitchen when it comes to recipe add-ins, tweaks and spins.
For the version you see here, I’ve kept it simple. I’ve updated what I grew up on by mixing in cooked leeks, Parmesan cheese next to the traditional bread crumbs, Worcestershire sauce and the binding eggs. Along with that, to keep them tender, I baked them in a tomato sauce that I finished with a heavy sprinkling of parsley and more Parmesan cheese.
I served this with some polenta but feel free to swap that out with some pasta instead. Whichever one you go with, this is one of those easy comforting weeknight meals.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¾ cup (2 oz.) leeks
- ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese, divided use
- 1 cup plain bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup milk
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 eggs
- 2 lbs. lean ground beef
- Tomato Sauce
- 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
- 2 14.5 oz. diced tomato, drained
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley
- 4 cups milk
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups polenta
- Preparation: Heat oven to 450 degrees F.
- To make meatballs: Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Add in leeks and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly. In a bowl combine ½ cup parmesan cheese, plain bread crumbs, salt, milk, Worcestershire sauce and eggs; mix to blend. Add in ground beef, using a sturdy spatula or a wooden spoon mix to combine. Scoop out mixture with a one-ounce cookie scoop or ice cream scoop and form 1½ inch meat balls. Place meatballs in an oven proof skillet or saute pan. Set aside.
- To make tomato sauce: In a bowl mix together crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Add mixture to pan with meatballs.
- Transfer pan to oven and bake for 20 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through. Remove from oven and sprinkle with parsley and remaining ¼ cup grated parmesan.
- To make polenta: Add milk and stock into a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Gradually whisk in polenta. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently until mixture thickens, about 20-25 minutes. Turn off heat and add in parmesan cheese.