This time of year, when the air is crisp and the leaves start to change, there is nothing better than slow-cooking a hearty and comforting dinner on Sunday afternoon. These braised meatballs with buttered noodles won’t be on your go-to quick and easy dinner rotation, but I can guarantee that you’ll add it to your special Sunday supper must-make list after you read this post.
I’m hoping to inspire you today because I was inspired to make these meatballs after finding a recipe for tomato and red wine braised meatballs on one of my favorite blogs, Macheesmo. I love the idea of braising meatballs, which is something I haven’t tried before, and if Nick says it’s good, then it must be true (have you seen his recipes? They all look delicious!). Using his recipe as inspiration I put together my own – his are more Italian style and I decided to go a… well, I’m not sure what to call it, maybe middle-of-the-US style meatballs? The combination of flavors I used (things like balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and tomatoes) resulted in a beefy, savory concoction reminiscent of the types of things I ate growing up in Wyoming. Yeah, I’ll just go with that.
Anyway, let’s first discuss the meatballs – nothing complicated here, just simple and delicious beef and pork meatballs that first get seared on the stove top. The browned bits they leave behind in the pot are the beginnings of the most wonderful savory sauce that the meatballs then finishing cooking in after you transfer the pot to the oven. After an hour and half the sauce reduces, the meatballs get all tender, and you get to serve up plates of juicy meatballs coated in a glossy, deeply flavorful sauce.
Oh, and the buttered noodles! They are so simple – just boil some egg noodles, toss them in some butter and herbs and, voila, you now have the perfect buttery bed of pasta for those tender and delicious meatballs. These braised meatballs are stick-to-your-ribs-oh-my-gosh-let’s-eat-it-all-and-pass-out-on-the-couch delicious and the perfect Sunday afternoon kitchen project that will leave everyone feeling happy, full, and loved.
Don’t you want to bring that kind of joy to the world?Print
- For the Meatballs
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons 2% milk
- 1/4 tablespoon fennel seed
- 1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- [br]For the Sauce
- 1/2 onion, quartered
- 2 large carrots, cut into large pieces
- 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme
- handful of fresh parsley
- [br]For the Buttered Noodles
- 1 (12 ounce) bag wide egg noodles
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon butter (for sauce)
- How to Make the Meatballs
- In a large bowl mix together the eggs, Parmesan cheese, milk, fennel seed, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and dried bread crumbs. Add the ground beef and pork to the bowl and mix everything together until it’s combined (I use my clean hands to do this).
- Take about 2 ounces of the mixture and roll it between your hands to form the meatballs. You should get about 24 balls.
- In a dutch oven or stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Working in batches, cook the meatballs in the oil just until they are seared on the outside, which should only take a few minutes on each side. Remove them from the heat and set them aside. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the olive oil from the pan.
- How to Make the Sauce
- First, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- After you’ve cooked the meatballs and removed the excess oil, add the onion, carrot, and garlic to the pan. Add the balsamic vinegar and, using a spatula or wooden spoon, scrape up any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Add the whole tomatoes (give them a quick squish with your hands before adding them to the pot) plus all of the liquid in the can. Add the vegetable stock and bring the pot to a simmer and add the tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. Add the meatballs to the pot making sure that they are submerged in the liquid. Add the parsley and thyme and cover the pot with a lid (leave it slightly open to allow steam to escape while in the oven.
- Place the pot in the preheated oven and let it all cook for an hour and a half.
- Remove the pot from the oven and take out all of the meatballs and set them aside. Using a fine mesh sieve, strain the liquid and discard the solids. Pour the sauce back into the pot and bring it to a boil over high heat. Once it boils reduce the heat to maintain a strong simmer and let the sauce reduce until it starts to thicken, about 20 minutes. Add the meatballs to the sauce and reduce the heat to keep it all at a low simmer while you make the noodles.
- How to Make the Buttered Noodles
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a good handful of salt to the water. Add the egg noodles and cook them according to package directions. Drain the noodles, return them to the pot and toss them with the butter and herbs.
- To serve: Top the buttered noodles with 2-3 meatballs per serving. Pour any remaining sauce over the top.