A while back I asked you all to take a survey about what you wanted to see more of on Espresso and Cream. So often the only way I know what you like/don’t like is by reading the comments section of each post. But since there are so many more readers than commenters it’s hard to get a good feel for things sometimes. Thank you all who participated in the survey! It was incredibly helpful and I loved reading your responses.
When asked what you wanted to see more of on the site, there was enthusiastic support of more vegetarian main dishes as well as non vegetarian main dishes. Even though I’m a vegetarian, my husband is not so I totally understand! And, just because I’m a vegetarian doesn’t mean I expect all our friends to be, too.
Dishes like these Simmered Italian Meatballs are the exact type of dish I like to make when friends are coming over to eat. Spaghetti and meatballs, along with a large green salad, seem to be universally appeaing. Plus, the meatballs can be mixed and rolled into form the night or morning before, then cooked in about 20 minutes before company arrives.
In the past I’ve been accustomed to baking the meatballs in the oven. However, once I discovered this method in a Williams-Sonoma catalog (yes, those recipes are really pretty tasty!) I was hooked. By searing the meatballs in a skillet they take on a great crusty exterior that has more color than baked meatballs. And simmering the meatballs in the marinara sauce gives jarred sauce a little extra flavor that makes it taste a bit more hommeade than it really is. I love “cheating” in the kitchen, don’t you?
Simmered Italian Meatballs
*1 lb. Italian sausage
*1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
*1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
*1 large egg, lightly beaten
*1 teaspoon each of dried basil, oregano and parsley
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/4 teaspoon black pepper
*1 large jar marinara sauce
*In a large bowl, combine all the above ingredients, except the marinara sauce, until evenly combined. Form into 16 medium-size meatballs.
*In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium high heat. Add meatballs to skillet and cook until deep golden brown. Turn to the other side and cook a few minutes more. Add the marinara sauce to the skillet along with the meatballs. Reduce heat to medium low. Cover the skillet with a lid and continue to cook for 12 to 18 minutes more or until meatballs are no longer pink inside. Serve with pasta, if desired.