I love Italian food! (Awww heck…I love all food!) When it comes to comfort food, foods that speak of family meal time, and meals made with love…the Italian’s just hold the corner on the market!
You’ll know exactly what I mean when you make this dish! My house smelled like a Five star Italian restaurant! Oh my goodness, it was so amazing… they need a wall flower with that scent! (Well…maybe not, but you get the gist right?)
Who doesn’t like a delicious meatball sandwich, or pasta and meatballs with a deep rich marinara sauce? It’s the BEST!
The beauty of this recipe is you can do both, in the crock pot, (no kidding) and the sauce is OUT.OF.THIS.WORLD! So, go dig out that crock pot that you thought you had put away for the winter and let’s a make’a some’a meatballs… hey! (Really bad Italian accent…really bad! lol)
Take 1 pound of ground beef and 1 pound of mild Italian sausage (If you can only find it in links…just get links and cut them open…not a big deal)… along with your seasoned bread crumbs, parsley, eggs, and Parmesan cheese and you are going to mush that all together really well. (That’s right…Mush! I love mushing…just dig your hands in and mush away! Don’t be a pansy…roll up those sleeves and MUSH!!! lol)
Take a heaping tablespoon of the mixture and roll it into a ball.
Place the meatball into the bottom of your crock pot. (Think golf ball size…maybe just a tad bigger) Continue rolling the meat into balls and placing them in the crock pot until you have used all the mixture. You should have around 25 – 30 meatballs…give or take.
Now…onto the sauce!
Pour remaining ingredients on top of the meatballs…DO NOT STIR!
That’s right just “dump” 2 cans of petite diced tomatoes, 1 can tomato paste, 1 small can tomato sauce, 2 cups of water, your onion, garlic, seasonings and sugar. Place the lid on top, set on low and… walk away….yep…walk away or you can dance…whatever get’s ya moving on to the next thing on your list. (Note * If you have the newer crock pots with the digital settings…and you’ve already discovered that “low” is burning everything to a crisp…set it to “warm” to cook! I am not a huge fan of the new digital crock pots.)
In 4-5 hours as the house is starting to smell like Cousin Vinny’s you can gently…ever so gently, so as to not break the meatballs apart… stir the mixture together. Replace the lid and continue cooking another 5 hours.
After about 8-10 hours (I prefer 10 hours… just gives the sauce longer to do it’s thang!) and a couple more stirs your entire house and… the next door neighbors house now smells like Italy!
As those meatballs cook… the juices from the meat and the flavors from the Parmesan cheese start to seep into that tomato sauce. (Cooking Magic…we love cooking magic!)
The sugar is caramelizing in that sauce and it will just keep getting richer, and richer with each passing hour. Your meatballs are going to cook perfectly! Wanna see….
Oh… Mama Mia! That’s a meatball!
Amazing right? So simple, so quick, so easy… you are probably skeptical about the taste!
You wouldn’t think something so simple could be this wonderful… however… you end up with these beautiful perfect meatballs full of flavor and a rich thick sauce that is just as good as any fine Italian restaurant you will ever go to! (Forget the Cannoli…bring me the Meatballs! Sorry God Father…had to steal your line!)
Depending on the size of your family, I can get 2 meals out of one recipe of meatballs.
The first day I made a pasta dish using Penne Pasta (it’s our favorite) but, you can use any pasta you want. The second day meatball sandwiches.
The meatballs and sauce store really well in the fridge until you are ready to use them. I recommend making them one day so they can cook the entire 10 hours and then using them throughout the week.
Like I mentioned… I cooked some pasta and then spooned some meatballs and sauce over the noodles. After that…I chopped up some fresh basil and sprinkled all over the top, then some fresh grated mozzarella cheese and shaved Parmesan cheese. Popped it into the broiler for a minute to get it all bubbly and golden brown and then served it with salad and some bread! Yum! (I really need another go-to word! Yum is so original!)
I can honestly promise this recipe won’t disappoint. You will be able to tell all your friends and neighbors that you have Cousin Vinny’s very special old world meatball recipe! Okay maybe not…but, they won’t doubt it authentic Italian!
As I mentioned above, you can get two meals out of this recipe! The second day…I use these meatballs to create the world’s best Meatball Sub Sandwich!
I split sub rolls in half, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with garlic salt, pop in the broiler till toasty. Add meatballs and sauce, top with cheese and voila! Another amazing dinner…and my personal favorite!
It’s so nice on those crazy days, that we all have, to just pull out a healthy hearty meal you can heat up in minutes and be done!
I’ve got the printable below for you…What’s your favorite Italian dish? There’s so many to chose from but, I’d love to know what some of your favorites are…maybe I can include them here on the Blog! Until next time…Mangia!
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