Osso Buco-Style Meatballs

I found this recipe in a publication that my electric cooperative sends out monthly.  Great Recipe!  A wonderful comfort food on a cold, dreary day.

MEATBALLS

1 slice whole wheat bread (I used fresh baked, white bread that Dave made)

⅓ cup whole milk

1 pound ground beef

2 oz of smoked bacon finely chopped ( I used 3 pieces of thick cut hickory smoked bacon)

1 egg

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon finely ground pepper

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

3 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese (the real deal – grate it yourself!)

2 tablespoon finely chopped shallots

⅓ cup Olive Oil

1 cup bread crumbs

SAUCE

2 tablespoons butter (REAL)

1 medium sweet onion finely chopped

½ cup finely chopped carrot

½ cup finely chopped celery

1 cup dry white wine

14.5 oz diced tomatoes, undrained

GREMOLATA

1 ½ tablespoon finely grated lemon zest

⅓ cup minced parsley

1-2 medium garlic cloves, minced.

  1. MEATBALLS:  Combine the bread and milk in a large bowl.  When the bread is soft, mash it with a fork (or fingers), then add the beef, bacon, egg, salt, pepper, parsley, Parmesan, and shallots to bowl and mix thoroughly.  Make meatballs 1 ½ inch- 2 inches in diameter.
  2.  Heat the olive oil in a 1 inch, high sided skillet over medium-high heat.  Dredge the meatballs in the breadcrumbs, then brown them on all sides. Remove meatballs from skillet and set aside.
  3. SAUCE:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Add butter to the drippings in the skillet.  Add the onion, celery, carrots, stirring until softened.  Add the wine and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes with liquid and simmer an additional 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer the sauce and meatballs to a 3 quart casserole dish, cover and bake 1 hour.    Allow the meatballs to cool briefly while you prepare the gremolata.
  5.  GREMOLATA:  Combine the lemon zest, parsley and garlic in a small bowl.  Serve the warm meatballs with a sprinkling of gremolata over each portion.
Sauce in the making.

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