Everyone has their own definition of comfort food, it’s such a personal thing. For me it’s food that helps erase the stresses of the day, temporarily stops all conversation, and envelopes me in a cozy embrace. It’s often cheesy, usually warm, and always satisfying. True comfort food shouldn’t stir up guilt or regret. It’s food that inspires what my husband calls my ‘dinner dance’, an embarrassing little jig I do when an especially tempting meal is coming together :)
Meatballs of all kinds are on my top ten list of favorite foods. I’m super happy with these because they came out so soft and pillowy — just perfect for scooping up with a crisp piece of garlic toast.
I don’t usually follow a recipe with meatballs, I improvise off a basic formula of 1/2 cup bread crumbs and 1 egg to every pound of ground meat. Finely chopped onions are almost always included. I vary the flavorings widely, including some herbs and spices and some kind of sauce. Sometimes I’ll use ketchup, steak sauce or barbecue sauce. Depending on the flavor profile I might use soy sauce, jam, or even milk. These meatballs came out especially soft, which works well for scooping and eating dip-style.
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- a small red onion, finely minced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 tsp onion salt
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 heaping Tbsp ketchup (I used my favorite Jalapeno Ketchup)
- 1 heaping Tbsp A1 sauce
- 16 oz jar of your favorite tomato sauce
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (a little more if you like things really cheesy)
- 1 baguette
- olive oil for brushing
- several garlic cloves, sliced lengthwise (don't peel)
- Set the oven to 350F
- Crack the egg into a large mixing bowl and beat well with a fork. Add the meat, breaking it apart as you add it to the bowl Add in the rest of the 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 it, you want these meatballs to be fluffy and light.
- Scoop out the meat into approximately 22 balls and roll the balls round with your hands. I used my 1 1/2 inch cookie scoop.
- Set the meatballs on a baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes.
- After you put the meatballs in the oven, pour the sauce into a 10 inch cast iron skillet and place in the oven along with the meatballs for the last 10 minutes of cooking, to heat up the sauce.
- Remove both pans from the oven and transfer the meatballs to the skillet, nestling them into the sauce. Return the skillet to the oven and cook for another 10 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. Set under the broiler if you want it to brown, but watch carefully.
- Serve immediately with garlic toasts.
- To make the toasts, thinly slice a baguette and brush one side with olive oil. Set the toasts oil side down on a very hot grill pan for a few minutes until toasted. Rub the cut side of garlic along the toasted surface of the hot bread.