Meatballs of a King: Veal & Sirloin Meatballs in a Basil Cabernet Marinara Sauce
Who said you have to be royalty to eat like a King? I don’t know about you, but I am certainly the Queen of my house or apartment aka my Diva Den as I like to call it. Every now and then, you have to splurge and treat yourself to something truly exquisite!
Veal and sirloin meatballs are a treat that that will leave you stunned at your own cooking skills! No worries, if you’re not a kitchen Don you can still pull this dish off and impress guests. The trick is to slow cook the meatballs in the marinara sauce for HOURS until they are soft. We all know what a great meatballs taste like; treat yourself. It’s the closest you’ll get to someone feeding your grapes on a Sunday night.
- ½ lb Ground veal
- ½ Ground sirloin
- Fresh basil
- Fresh parsley
- Fresh garlic—1 head
- 1 Large egg
- 1 Large white or yellow onion
- ½ cup of Italian breadcrumbs
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 2 bouillon cube
- Fresh Ginger—the secret to any tomato based sauce
- 2 Bay leaves
- Red Wine: I used a Cabernet from Chile
- Light brown sugar
- 2 cans of tomato puree
- 1 can of tomato sauce
- 1 can tomato paste
- Place ground meat into mixing bowl and let it sit
- Finely chop parsley and basil until you have about a ½ to ¾ of cups of both combined
- Peel 4 cloves of garlic and create paste in mortar and pestle by adding a healthy pinch of salt. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, simply dice garlic
- Dice large onion into very small cubes
- In mixing bowl, add: parsley, basil, garlic, ½ chopped onions, and egg
- Mix together with your hands then add the ½ cup of breadcrumbs and sprinkle some pepper, salt, and olive oil as well. Continue to mix with your hands.
- Let the meat sit for 5-10mins
- Gather a large serving tray and dust some breadcrumbs on it
- The fun part—let’s start making meatballs! Grab a large spoon and scoop up meat mixture and roll into meatball. I like medium sized meatballs, but you can go bigger or smaller. Note that bigger meatballs retain their juices better but also take longer to cook
- After you’ve assembled all of your meatballs, let them sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour or even over night. This ensures that your meatballs don’t fall apart when you cook them.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Be sure to place your meatballs on parchment paper in a baking dish or baking tray—whichever you have is fine. If you don’t have parchment paper, sprinkle some oil or butter on aluminum foil to make sure your meatball don’t stick while baking. We don’t want meatball casualties!
- Once the oven is ready and place COVERED meatballs in the oven for 30mins. We don’t want to try them out! Once they’re in the oven, lower the temperature to 275 degrees
- If you want to go the extra mile, which we do—make garlic paste again with salt and add to bowl with olive oil. Mix together so you can baste your meatballs with this delicious sauce as they cook! Baste every twice—once at 15mins and again at 30mins
- After 30mins baking, uncover meatballs, baste (optional) and cook uncovered for 10 mins on 275
- In a large pot, heat olive oil and add 4 whole garlic cloves.
- Brown garlic cloves then add diced onions. As soon as onions begin to sweat and soften, add the tomato puree.
- Stir tomato puree and add the can of tomato sauce as well.
- Add tomato paste to thicken. Eyeball.
- Add one crumbled bouillon cube, parsley, basil, oregano, and bay leaves
- Continue to stir, letting sauce thicken. If it gets too thick add some water and let it thicken it again. You want your sauce to absorb all of the flavors.
- Now add 1 cup of Cabernet and make sure your sauce comes to a simmer. You want to cook some of the wine down.
- Once wine cooks down grate some ginger (a little goes a long way!) and add a teaspoon of sugar.
- Once the meatballs are ready, add the meatballs in—now the magic begins.
- On a low flame, cook meatballs for at least 3 hours in sauce.
- Feel free to taste and make sure you have the right acid to salt to sweet ratio. Most importantly, test taste a meatball to make sure it’s succulent! If it’s tough cook longer, if it’s juicy and soft then you’re on the right path.
- Towards the end, add another dash of tomato paste, wine, garlic paste, salt, sugar, and BASIL!
- Cook beauty that another 10-15 minutes.
- Serve over a bed a pasta (rigatoni is my favorite) or in a baguette for a meatball hero.
- Don’t forget to sprinkle fresh basil and fresh grated parmesan cheese.
- Enjoy with a glass of wine as a King and Queen would.
Problem—do you have left over wine and garlic baste we used on the meatballs earlier?
You can make some garlic bread! Simply add garlic baste to a baguette and toast for 2-5 minutes in the oven on 425. This creates GREAT dipping bread for your meatballs.
And the wine? … Drink it. I never heard of a kingdom that let wine go to waste!