Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Cheesy Baked Meatballs

I never much cared for anything with tomatoes when I was a kid. I opted for mustard over ketchup (making me a bit of a youthful neighborhood oddity), and would always forego any type of Italian food, including pizza. Tomato sauce always tasted bitter to me. As I got older and became serious about cooking, I learned about the wonders of bechamel sauce, and how beautifully it pairs with tomato sauce in Italian dishes, tempering the sauce, turning into a dish that is absolutely wonderful.

For this reason I have been stalking the Cheesy Skillet Meatball recipe that has appeared on both the
12 Tomatoes and View from Grand Island blogs. I love meatballs, and with one version of this recipe making use of bechamel, I figured they had to be good.  So I combined the two and came up with I think is probably my favorite meatball yet. I added a few more seasonings to the meatballs to give them a bit more of a kick, and baked them longer than either recipe suggested. We loved them! As an added plus, they reheat perfectly, and make the best meatball sandwich that I think I have ever tasted.
Cheesy Baked Meatballs
1 lb. ground beef
1 extra-large egg
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1 Tbl. minced onion
1 tsp. onion salt
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp. Beef or Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 heaping Tbsp. ketchup
Pinch of cayenne pepper

16 oz. jar of your favorite pasta sauce
(I use Paul Newman’s Sockarooni)

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

2 cups whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Set the oven to 350ยบF.

Crack the egg into a large mixing bowl and whisk until blended. Add the meat, breaking it apart as you add it to the bowl. Add the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the tomato sauce and the mozzarella cheese. Mix to combine everything well, using your fingertips. Don't compact the meat, and don't over mix.

Scoop out the meat into approximately 15 balls (I used a small ice cream scoop.) and roll the balls into nice rounds with your hands.

Place the meatballs on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

After you put the meatballs in the oven, pour the sauce into a 1-1/2 quart casserole dish and place in the oven along with the meatballs for the last 10 minutes of cooking, to heat up the sauce.

While meatballs are baking, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until roux is golden, smooth, and paste-like, 5-7 minutes.

While continuing to whisk, stir in whole milk. Bring mixture to a boil and cook for 10 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in salt and nutmeg.

Remove both pans from the oven and transfer the meatballs to the skillet, nestling them into the sauce. Bake 15 minutes. Top with bechamel. Return the skillet to the oven and cook for another 15 minutes, if you made your meatballs smaller or larger, the cooking time may vary.

Remove the skillet again and top with the cheese. Return to the oven to melt the cheese, 2-3 minutes.

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

Oh, boy! This has my name written all over it! Winnie