Who does not love meatballs? People serve them in sandwiches, on top of pizzas, alone as a main course, and, of course, in spaghetti. These rolled bits of meaty goodness are easy to prepare yet seem like a decadent treat. The following tips and suggestions will give you some great ideas for preparing this versatile dish.
Choose Italian Sausages
A variety of meats can be used to prepare meatballs, such as beef, chicken, pork, and veal. However, when trying to maximize time, the last thing that you want to do is rifle through your cupboard or spice rack looking for multiple herbs and spices for your meatballs. Consider making Italian sausage meatballs. Unlike other meat choices that might require lots of additional flavors and spices, these are more low maintenance since many of the herbs and spices are already in the Italian sausages.
The only mandatory ingredients to make Italian sausage meatballs are breadcrumbs, eggs, milk, and Pecorino cheese. Other seasoning options include garlic, parsley, oregano, and even mustard. Since this meat are traditionally made of pork, those looking for a leaner, healthier alternative might consider substituting Italian chicken sausage.
Cooking Italian Sausage Meatballs
The traditional method for cooking Italian sausage meatballs is to fry them in olive oil. Most recipes call for ½ cup to 1 cup of olive oil to be heated in a skillet or large frying pan. Drop the meat in hot oil and fry it until they are crispy and golden brown. If they seem to be losing their shape, you can cover them while they are cooking to hold their shape. Do not pack the meatballs into the frying pan; instead, cook them in batches giving the meat ample room to cook. Once they are finished, remove the meat and drain them on a paper towel.
For those interested in a healthier cooking method, many people opt to bake meatballs. Baking Italian sausage meatballs can cause them to be flat on one side. To avoid this, San Francisco-based cookbook author and food blogger, Amy Sherman, suggests placing the meatballs on a non-stick baking rack placed in a foil-lined pan to catch the drippings.
There are still more options for cooking meatballs. Some cooks choose to brown the meat on each side in a skillet before cooking them more thoroughly in the oven or simmering them in a pasta sauce. Although, not as quick or healthy, some cooks even choose to place the raw Italian meatballs in the sauce. The benefit to this method is that the drippings from the meatballs are absorbed into the sauce as they cook, further enhancing the flavor.
Make-Ahead Italian Sausage Meatballs
To make Italian meatball meals even easier, you can make the ahead of time. Simply make the Italian sausage meatballs according to your favorite recipe and bake them thoroughly-until the center is no longer pink and the juices run clear. Then, according to BettyCrocker.com, place the meats on an ungreased cookie sheet and freeze them uncovered for about twenty minutes. Next, place the partially frozen meatballs in a freezer-safe container or bag. These Italian meatballs can be safely kept in the freezer for up to three months. Whenever you need to use them for a recipe, simply unthaw them and warm them with your favorite sauce.