Friday, January 27, 2012

Fennel and Parmesan Meatballs

Whether on pasta or on a toasty sub, the combination of meatballs and tomato sauce is one of my absolute favorites. My Fennel and Parmesan Meatball recipe can only be described as a knockout.  The fennel seed adds a touch of sweetness that compliments the salty bite of the Parmesan perfectly. I brown the meatballs on the stove top first then they finish cooking in the sauce, making them moist and adding even more flavorful. For best results, be sure to use my  Tomato Basil Sauce with Leeks and Mushrooms.

1 1/2 pounds 96% lean Ground Beef
1 1/2 teasoons Kosher Salt
2 tablespoons Fennel Seed
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
1 egg plus 1 egg white
6 Whole Wheat Melba Toast Crackers, crushed
1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
2 teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 cups Tomato Basil Sauce with Leeks and Mushrooms (or any good quality tomato basil sauce)

Preheat a large skillet and the olive oil over medium heat. In a medium size mixing bowl combine the ground beef, salt, fennel, Parmesan, egg, crushed crackers, and oregano. Mix with hands until well combined (be sure not to over mix to avoid drying out the meat). Score the meat mixture into 4 equal sections then divide each of the 4 sections into 3 meatballs (12 meatballs total). Place meatballs into heated oil and brown the meatballs by gently turning them every few minutes, about 12 minutes total. Add tomato basil sauce to the meatballs, turn heat to high, and cover. As soon as the sauce begins to boil reduce to low heat and simmer for 20 more minutes or until meatballs are cooked through. Serve with pasta, on a whole wheat roll, or simply solo.

Note: if you are making a homemade sauce with the meatballs, remove meatballs from pan after browning, make sauce with pan drippings, and add meatballs back in once sauce is ready to simmer to finish cooking.

Servings: 4
Serving Size: 3 meatballs plus 1 cup of sauce; 400 calories per serving (around 94 calories per meatball)

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