On a Roll

Three recipes that elevate the humble meatball
These pork meatballs are an easy, delicious meal when paired with Asian-style noodles.

Besides just being fun to eat, meatballs are the ultimate crowd-pleaser: They are comforting, satisfying, and totally kid-approved. Once you break out of that they-must-be-on-top-of-spaghetti mentality (although we do love a good, old-school Italian meatball), they become a blank canvas, ready to soak up herbs, spices, and flavors from cuisines that are way beyond The Boot.  


Greek Veggie Meatballs With Tzatziki

Serves 4 (20-22 meatballs)
Perfect pairing: Couscous cooked with almonds and raisins, and pita

For meatballs:
2 cups lentils, cooked according   to instructions
¼ cup olive oil
1 large shallot, chopped
1 large carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 garlic clove, diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons fresh oregano,   chopped
8 ounces white mushrooms,   chopped
1 tablespoon fresh mint,    chopped
¼ cup almonds, chopped
½ cup bread crumbs
3 eggs
Salt and pepper

For sauce:
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 clove garlic
1 lemon, juiced
1 cup Greek yogurt
½ bunch fresh mint leaves
Salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Sauté carrots, celery, and garlic until soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add tomato paste, cumin, and oregano and cook until tomato paste is browned, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper, and cook until all the moisture has reduced, about 15 minutes. Transfer mixture to a large bowl, let cool, combine with lentils and remaining ingredients and let rest in fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle additional olive oil in glass or ceramic baking dish so it is well-coated. Form into golf-ball-sized balls and place in dish so the meatballs barely touch. Cook 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a blender, chop cucumber and garlic. Add remaining sauce ingredients, season, and serve with meatballs.




Asian BBQ Pork Meatballs 

Serves 4 (10-12 meatballs)
Perfect pairing: Serve with Asian-style noodles

For meatballs:
1 pound ground pork
2 tablespoons shallots, minced
2 teaspoons ginger, minced
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 tablespoon jalapeño, chopped
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
½ teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
¼-½ cup plain bread crumbs
¼ cup canola oil

For sauce:
½ cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons Asian chili sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup chicken stock or water
½ teaspoon sesame oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine meatball ingredients except canola oil, and form into 10-12 golf-ball-sized meatballs. Let meatballs rest in fridge for 30 minutes to firm up. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan. Fry meatballs on all sides for 2-3 minutes until brown, working in batches if necessary. Place meatballs in a glass or ceramic baking dish and bake until cooked through, about 12-15 minutes. Meanwhile in a small saucepan, combine sauce ingredients and cook for 5 minutes until just combined. Pour glaze over meatballs before serving. 


Meatball Parm Hoagies

Serves 4 (10-12 meatballs)
Perfect pairing: Sautéed spinach or broccoli rabe 

For meatballs:
1 pound ground beef/veal/pork   mixture
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup ricotta cheese
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup plain bread crumbs
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

For sandwich:
2 cups marinara sauce
1 large ball fresh mozzarella, cut into slices
4 Italian hoagie rolls, sandwich rolls, or a baguette cut into four, 6-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pour enough olive oil in a glass or ceramic baking dish so that it is well-coated. Combine all meatball ingredients and form into golf-ball-sized meatballs. Place meatballs in baking dish so they are touching. If there is extra room in the pan, that is fine. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven, spoon 1 cup sauce on meatballs, and continue to bake until cooked through, about 20 more minutes. Meanwhile, cut bread in half lengthwise. After meatballs are cooked, place 3-4 meatballs on each roll, cover with ¼ cup of sauce, and top with mozzarella slices. Repeat for each sandwich. Place on baking sheet under broiler until cheese is melted, about 3 minutes. Serve. 

Categories: Food & Entertaining