I’ve decided that meatballs are my favorite Italian meal. After pizza. And baked ziti. And chicken parm. And ravioli.
Actually I guess I just like Italian food.
But as far as making at home, I tend more toward meatballs now than anything else. Mostly because I like that I can stick them in the crock pot and then when you’re ready for dinner, boil some spaghetti really quick and you’re good to go. Also you can freeze the leftovers for another spaghetti lunch, or a meatball sub. You can cook them on low for 4 hours or on high for 1 hour. I haven’t noticed a huge texture difference between cooking times, mostly it’s just an issue of convenience.
Even though “Bacon” is in the name, I only use one strip of bacon for the whole thing. I like having the earthy undertone of the bacon flavor, and this gives that without the bacon flavor overwhelming everything else.
Like the basil. The beautiful, sweet, summery basil that is everything to these meatballs. You absolutely do not want to lose any of that basil deliciousness.
Plan for a time you can have your hands covered in raw meat for a while. (So, you know, don’t get in a situation where you’ll suddenly have to reach and pick up the baby, because your hands will be covered in raw meat.)
Also, to dish out the meatballs, I use the Pampered Chef small dough scoop. They have a large and a small, and I use the small. I don’t know exactly how that measures out, maybe 1.5 tablespoons? Sorry I can’t be more specific.
- 1 pound ground beef* (if using ground poultry add 1 Tblsp olive oil)
- 1 slice bacon, finely diced
- Salt – 1/2 tsp
- Red pepper flakes – 1/4 tsp
- Oregano – 1 tsp
- Parsley – 1 tsp
- Basil – 1 Tblsp
- Garlic – 4 cloves
- Italian bread crumbs – 1/3 cup
- 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
Plug in crock pot.
Dice up bacon very finely and put in a pan on low heat.
In a medium-sized bowl, dump ground meat and all ingredients except pasta sauce. When the bacon is finished cooking, dump bacon and grease into bowl.
Mix all ingredients thoroughly with your hands. Scoop out meatballs and roll them in your hands one by one to form, and place in crock pot.
When all meatballs are in crock pot, cover with pasta sauce.
Set it and forget it. When it’s time for dinner, boil pasta and serve.
Yield: about 18 meatballs