I am sitting in my room, listening to raindrops splash on my rooftop and sipping coffee. It’s a peaceful day, a bolognese meatballs kind of day.
While today’s post may be lacking in the exclamation points, today’s post brings a different kind of excitement: the excitement of calm, the excitement of rest. And after days of nonstop crazy-busy life, I find rest incredibly exciting.
The first time I ever made bolognese meatballs from scratch, it was very complicated and involved and delicious as can be. This ground beef recipe is not complicated and is completely nontraditional; this recipe is still delicious.
I made these bolognese meatballs on a day like today, a day that welcomes the task of making homemade meatballs and baking them in a warm, rich, bubbly tomato sauce. One important note on these meatballs is the sear. You need to do this. The Maillard Reaction is important as it helps give us flavor! It gives us these meatballs as they should be. We’re maximizing deliciousness here.
Grab your Dutch oven, put on some sweet, jazzy tunes and clank up your oven to 375. It’s a meatball on a rainy day, and I love it.
Absolutely Amazing Bolognese Meatballs
TO MAKE THE MEATBALLS:
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 medium white onion - diced
- 2 small carrots - diced
- 2 stalks celery - diced
- 1 pound ground beef (minced beef) - lean ground beef, I used 90/10
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 medium egg
- ½ cup dried breadcrumbs - soaked in milk
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg - freshly grated
- ¼ teaspoon thyme
- 1 pinch salt - hefty pinch
- 1 pinch ground black pepper - hefty pinch
- 4 tablespoons cooking oil - for sear
TO MAKE THE SAUCE:
- 1 cup tomato - canned San Marzano, crushed
- 1 cup vegetable stock (vegetable broth or vegetable bouillon)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste - double concentrated
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 sprigs thyme
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 pinch salt - to taste
- 1 pinch ground black pepper
For the meatballs:
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Heat oil in a pan, then saute onion, carrot, and celery until soft.
- Thoroughly combine ground beef, pancetta, garlic, egg, breadcrumbs, sauteed vegetables, nutmeg, thyme, and salt and pepper in a bowl.
- Portion into 2-inch balls (or larger if you desire, though cook time will be longer).
- Heat oil in a pan. Add meatballs to the pan a few at a time, searing both sides of the meatballs for 1 minute or until browned—place in a baking dish.
For the Sauce:
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add San Marzanos and vegetable stock, whisk in tomato sauce, thyme, red pepper, and salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes or until the sauce is slightly reduced.
- Pour sauce over meatballs and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked throughout. Enjoy!