Spaghetti and meatballs is usually my standard whenever I go to an Italian restaurant. I’ve been trying to branch out a little lately and expand my culinary horizons, but I’m kind of a picky eater. I’m willing to try just about anything once, but when it comes to some normal, everyday ingredients, I’ll only eat them in certain ways. Take tomatoes, for instance. I love ketchup and tomato soup, but I won’t touch the raw fruit unless it’s on nachos. Why nachos? I have no idea. I’m also really picky about cheese. I LOVE cheese, but really only by itself. Sharp cheddar cheese sticks are probably my most favorite snack, but when it comes to cheese actually in things, I rarely like it. I don’t like cheese on sandwiches, or in pasta, which brings us back to my difficulty with Italian restaurants. Cheese manicotti? Not so much. Cheese ravioli? Mmm, no. Of course there are plenty of other things that I’ve tried and absolutely loved, so not all is lost! And now that I’ve mastered the art of making meatballs at home, I’ll probably move on to something more interesting next time I go out.
I really, really like these meatballs. I like the slight hint of heat that the cayenne gives to it, and the salty richness from the Parmesan. I like grating the onion so there’s no chunks in the meatballs, but I’ve made them both ways and the overall taste isn’t any different. I’ve kept these pretty simple, but you can go crazy with all the different things you can put in these, if you feel like it. Maybe a little garlic powder, dried parsley, basil, or oregano would be delicious, too.
Makes: about 30 small meatballs
1 lb. ground beef (I recommend using the leanest possible)
1/2 of a small onion, grated or finely minced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tsp. onion salt
pinch of cayenne pepper (or more if you like the heat!)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 – 1/2 c. Italian breadcrumbs
1) In a large bowl, break up the ground beef with a spoon.
2) Add in the onion, garlic, onion salt, cayenne, salt, pepper and egg. Mix until well blended.
3) Add in enough breadcrumbs to make the mixture dry enough so that you can easily roll them into balls without sticking too badly to your hands. (I used just a little over 1/4 c.)
4) Roll into balls of desired size (mine were about 1.5 inches in diameter), remembering that they will shrink as they cook. Place meatballs onto a greased cookie sheet (for easy cleanup, cover the cookie sheet in tinfoil, and then grease the foil)