Baked Meatballs In Tomato Sauce

The beauty of these juicy meatballs is that you don’t have to brown them first. Yeah! As they bake, they impart all their delicious juices and flavours to the sauce! Does it get any better? They’re a big hit at our house. We serve them on their own as a second course with a light pasta dish for a first course, followed by a salad. That way we really get to enjoy the meatballs!

Makes 12 Large Meatballs

1 lb. ground beef (15% fat)
½ lb. sweet Italian sausage (the ones with fennel), casings removed
1/3 cup plain dry bread crumbs**
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese (this adds a fabulous dimension to the meatballs)
2 ½ cups passata (I have used 2 cups passata & ½ cup hand crushed tinned San Marzano tomatoes)

Remove ground beef & sausage from fridge 30-60 minutes before cooking, if possible. Place bread crumbs in large bowl & stir in 1/3 cup water. When water is absorbed, blend together with eggs, garlic, ¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano, 1/8 tsp. salt & ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper.

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Add meats to bread crumb mixture & combine well using a fork. Form into 12 equal sized meatballs. Lay in 1 layer in a well-oiled 9 x 13” pan, leaving approximately 1” between them. Stir ¼ cup water into the tomatoes, season with 1/8 tsp. salt & freshly ground pepper to taste. Pour the mixture over & around the meatballs. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining Pecorino Romano cheese. Bake in the centre of the oven until meatballs are just cooked through, about 30 – 40 minutes. Remove from oven & serve hot. They just smell so darned good!

If you would like to make breadcrumbs,click Making Breadcrumbs.

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