I love spaghetti and meatballs as I have told you before in my original Spaghetti and Meatballs post. Except the day that I made the recipes found in that post I had a lot of time and energy on my hands. A lot. Remember? I even made homemade pasta. Today, not so much time and not so much energy, lol. Also, no ground beef. I really had a taste for meatballs today so what’s a girl to do? Make them out of ground sausage instead! I had some hot Italian sausage patties that I picked up simply because they were reduced. How could I pass up on a pound of Italian sausage for a little over one dollar? I couldn’t. And I’m glad I didn’t. I think I might actually like these meatballs better than those made out of ground beef or out of the “trio” that I usually use: beef, pork and veal. I don’t know, it’s a close call. These meatballs are so moist and packed full of flavor. And a bit spicy too, due to the use of hot Italian sausage but you could certainly use mild or sweet or even turkey sausage instead. I plan to try it with turkey sausage in the future since they would be a bit healthier.
I suppose I wasn’t going for “healthy” tonight though as I decided to also stuff my sausage meatballs with fresh mozzarella! YUM!
I recommend using a tomato basil sauce with these just because I like the flavors but use whatever you like. Use your favorite jar if you must or whip up a quick batch of homemade tomato basil sauce (from my previous spaghetti and meatballs post). It really doesn’t take long and will cook as you prepare your meatballs.
Preparation of these meatballs is easy and to make it even easier, rather than mince and dice my garlic and onions, I simply grated them into a large bowl along with my Parmesan cheese and then added the rest of the ingredients and mixed with my hands to combine. No more messy dishes than necessary! You can assemble these meatballs the night before and store in the fridge in a single layer on a covered sheet tray or plate if desired. I wouldn’t store them this way more than 24 hours-ish since there is raw egg in the mixture. If you wish to make them further ahead of time, you can sear them off and then simply finish them in your sauce about 20 minutes before you want to serve dinner. Really though, there is not great need to prepare these ahead of time that I can see, since they can be made start to finish in about 30 to 40 minutes (depending upon your culinary prowess and sense of urgency).
Italian Sausage Meatballs
*Meatballs a can be put together ahead of time and stored in a single layer on a covered sheet tray in the fridge overnight and then seared and simmered when ready to make dinner.
- 1 small onion or half of one large onion, peeled
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 lb. Italian sausage (hot, sweet, mild or turkey- your preference). If using links, remove from casings. You may also use bulk or sausage patties
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup dried breadcrumbs (I used homemade, unseasoned- if you use seasoned hold back on your added seasonings later on)
- 1/3 cup FRESHLY grated Parmesan cheese (fresh makes a difference over that dried stuff), plus extra for garnish
- ¼ cup milk
- Kosher Salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tsp. Italian seasoning
- 2 tbs. olive oil
- 10 bocconcini (very small balls of mozzarella, or cut fresh mozzarella into 1/2 inch cubes), optional- if you want a cheesy center in your meatballs!
- 1 recipe of basil and garlic tomato sauce (or a jar of your favorite marinara)
- ½ lb. dried spaghetti or ½ recipe of fresh egg pasta
- Grate the garlic and onion into a large bowl
- Add in the sausage, egg, breadcrumbs, parmesan, milk, a sprinkle of salt and pepper and the Italian seasoning
- Mix with clean hands until just incorporated, don’t over mix
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat
- Form the meat into balls about the size of golf balls
- Stuff the meatballs with a cube or ball of mozzarella if desired (do this by forming the meatball around the cheese, with the cheese in the very center, being sure to fully cover it so it won’t leak out during cooking)
- Sear the meatballs on all sides until browned, working in batches if necessary, about 7-10 minutes total (the meatballs won’t be done in the center yet)
- While the meatballs are searing, heat your sauce in a large sauté pan over medium heat
- Place the seared meatballs into the sauce and scoop some sauce over each meatball
- Cover and cook for about 15 minutes or until cooked through (165-170 degrees F in the center)
- Serve with spaghetti or in a roll as a meatball sub
- Garnish with more Parmesan, if desired