This is a meatball post. But it’s also a Thanksgiving post. You wouldn’t think the two go together right?
My family is celebrating Thanksgiving this year in the Outer Banks. We’ll have two big houses, about 30 adults, and a lot of food. Of course we’re looking forward to the deep-fried turkeys and the corn pudding, but that’s only for one meal, maybe two, if we’re lucky to have leftovers.
But mostly we’re lucky enough to have several amazing meals to look forward to over Thanksgiving weekend. First, let me say, it’s not really about the food. We’re a big happy bunch even eating simple ham sandwiches and potato salad from the grocery store. We’re a big Italian family, so food and family are one in the same. We also happen to be a family where everyone is a great cook and everyone appreciates good food. So the kitchen is really the best place to be during family holidays.
One of my favorite dishes that my family shares over Thanksgiving weekend are meatballs. I love my Aunt Lisanne’s recipe in which the meatballs are made with white bread soaked in milk and then baked slowly. We make dozens of them and they’re in the kitchen to grab and make a plate or a sandwich whenever you arrive to the house, are hungry, or just want to keep stuffing your face. Games and reading and crafts and football are happening all around. People are weaving in and out of rooms. “Did you see the basement yet?” But the meatballs anchor us. They’re just part of the family. Part of the rhythm. Grab your plate and pull up to the table and catch up with your cousin or in-law who lives 10 hours away. Belly laugh. Go for seconds.
This is the part of Thanksgiving I’m most thankful for.
I’ve talked to a few friends recently about feeling “Sunday sad.” Maybe we get it because the weekend is over and the stress of Monday lurks ahead. Maybe we’ve been running at full speed for the past six days, that when we finally slow down we succumb to feelings we’ve pushed aside. No matter the reason, we should deal with it. And my favorite way to do so, is to make the food that feels like a hug and I’m surrounded by love. That’s Thanksgiving meatballs. That’s Sunday meatballs and gravy.
I have my own more simple and quicker version of my aunt’s meatballs that I love to make early on a Sunday. (There’s almost as good!) Get them made early, leave on stove, take care of other Sunday duties, take care of myself a little, have some meatballs, watch episodes of Scandal, call home, have a little more meatballs, soak up gravy with bread. Feel the love.
It goes a little something like this….
In a large bowl combine 1/4 cup grated parmesan, 1/4 cup chopped parsley, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add 1 pound ground beef and 1/4 cup breadcrumbs. Mix gently and form into about 15 balls. In a Dutch oven, heat some olive oil over medium heat. Add meatballs, and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add 2 large cans of crushed tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, then cover partially, and cook, stirring occasionally, until meatballs are cooked through, about 10 minutes. Leave on stove on low until ready to eat. Serve with crusty Italian bread and extra Parmesan.