Monday, April 21, 2008

Black Pepper-Parmesan Meatballs

Remember the band Meatball? You do? Well, forget all about them and get a load of these.
Meatballs are enjoying a newfound popularity on the upscale dining scene. Finally this much-loved homey food is getting its due respect. Fortunately, you don't have to pay a hefty sum to enjoy a heaping plateful tonight. Meatballs are inexpensive ( a great way to strech meat servings) and easy to make at home. Make up a giant batch and freeze whatever you don't need immediately. I prefer to freeze them raw and cook them later; thus preserving their tender texture and meaty flavor. Keep the flavoring on the basic side and you will be able to use the meatballs in a variety of ways. Think big here! Meatballs are not only sensational in spaghetti. They make a perfect party appetizer, and can be used in soups, sandwiches, stews, or tucked into tacos or pitas, or over rice, polenta, grits, barley, couscous or even speared on a skewer. Believe me, if you have some in the freezer, you'll find new and amazing uses for them. If you have any little ones around, make sure they help you roll the meatballs and you'll be cranking out meatballs in no time.

Black Pepper Parmesan Meatballs
Estimated Cost Per Batch: $4.00
1 lb. lean ground meat (beef, turkey, veal, chicken, pork-whatever you like)
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1/2-3/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil or parsley
1 tablespoon cooking oil

Gently combine mixture with your hands. Add more breadcrumbs as needed to keep meatballs moist but not overly sticky. Shape into 1 inch balls. (If you plan to freeze any meatballs, place them on a cookie sheet and freeze for one hour. Slide them into a bag and freeze for up to 2 months.) Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add meatballs and brown well on all sides. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook until meatballs are no longer pink in center.

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