A little background here, before I start discussing my meatballs:
When I was almost 10 years old, my mom made a medical decision with her doctor to stop eating meat. It was a trial separation from animal products. She started making herself separate meals without meat, and cooking an extra meal or two for my dad and I. My dad and I are both picky eaters sometimes, and my dad was working late in the newspaper, so she was making a LOT of meals.
I felt bad. I told her to stop worrying about it and that I would eat a vegetarian diet as long as she did. We still ate fish and dairy products –we weren’t strict, classic, die-hard vegans or anything.
This went on for about 13 years. I had gone so long without eating meat that I didn’t really crave it anymore, and I was afraid that eating it would make me sick, anyway.
Fast forward to last year, 2010, and my doctor told me that I needed to try eating meat! Alright, I thought, we’ll start slow. I started with poultry, and I am happy to say that it did not make me sick in the least. I slowly worked my way up, and I had my first steak about two months ago (first one after 14 or so years).
Let me also preface this by saying that I buy free-range and humanely treated animal products. I have no illusions about what I am doing, and although sometimes I feel bad, I really have felt better since reintroducing meat into my diet.
When I was first testing different recipes that were non-vegetarian, I made a batch of turkey meatballs. They were pretty good. E was happy to have anything that came from an animal, and I was able to partake in a traditional Italian meal of sorts.
Now that I am able to eat beef, I decided to make real meatballs.
Without giving away my secret, this is what I threw together one night with what I had in the freezer and pantry:
1 lb of ground beef
1 lb of ground Italian sausage
Breadcrumbs (I didn’t measure. I eyeballed it)
Basil, parsley, thyme, and I think I threw in some tarragon as well
I baked them for almost an hour and served them with spaghetti and mushroom tomato sauce (mushrooms sautéed in oil and balsamic vinegar, a can of diced tomatoes, and a small can of tomato sauce).
I have never seen E so happy when eating some I put in front of him. Except maybe the apricot chicken or my almost famous risotto.
For me, it was like returning to an old friend. It brought me back to being a kid at grandma’s house and digging in to some of her amazing Italian food. It made me think of Christmases and summers when I would visit her for weeks at a time.
I give this recipe a 4 star rating with plans to revive them again for a Sunday dinner.