Monday, May 16, 2016

Meatballs and Marinara

Meatballs and Marinara - Meatballs, tossed in a quick, homemade marinara sauce, topped with mozzarella cheese and served over rotini pasta. Add a side salad and some crusty bread for a fantastic meal!

Meatballs and Marinara

The Cajun loves meatballs. I swear his eyes literally light up when I say we're having meatballs for supper, without him knowing a thing about how we're having them. Just the word meatballs makes him happy!

Of course, I'm pretty sure he could also finish off a full 3 pounds of them in one sitting, if I let him. He is definitely your quintessential meat and potatoes man, so I do try to "fill in" with things like sauce, maybe some pasta, a little bread and a salad.

As to meatballs, I have a favorite meatball recipe that I've been using as long as I've been cooking, and I try to put up a big batch of them occasionally so I'll have some in the freezer. Since I had the chance to try and review the Daily Chef Casa meatballs from Sam's Club last fall, I sure changed my mind about frozen meatballs, and I love having some of those on hand too.

They are delicious and The Cajun absolutely loves them, and after all, that's what really matters, right? If you have the time, make up a batch of my basic meatballs, you won't be sorry, but if time is tight, fuggetaboutit! Just use your favorite fully cooked, frozen meatballs and I highly recommend Casa.

Instead, for this dish, I'm focusing on my own, easy to make homemade marinara sauce, that I've also been making forever, though of course, you can certainly substitute your favorite jarred sauce as well. The homemade sauce really makes this dish shine though, and it's much less work than starting from scratch with homemade meatballs, so I hope you'll give it a try!

Here's how to make my meatballs and marinara, and, as always, you'll find the full recipe with measurements, instructions and a printable further down the page past these step-by-step photos.

Meatballs and Marinara with rotini pasta and a green bean salad on the side.
Start by preparing and cooking meatballs according to the recipe  you use, or use your favorite, convenient fully cooked, frozen meatballs. All you'll need to do is thaw them. For the sauce, heat 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in a deep, lidded saucepan; add onions and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook another minute.

Add tomato paste, cook and stir for another 2 minutes. You're lightly browning the tomato paste here, a process called a pince (PEEN-say) in culinary terms, which helps to extract more flavor from the tomato paste, adding a deeper richness to your sauce. Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and mild Rotel tomatoes, until blended. If you prefer a milder sauce, substitute another can of diced tomatoes instead. You'll have a bit more juice to the sauce, but it will work out fine.

Add wine, if using, sugar and Italian seasoning. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, mashing the tomatoes and stirring occasionally. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F and add remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil to a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. You can use whatever oven safe skillet you have, but cast iron will conduct heat more evenly and cook everything through more quickly.  Place thawed meatballs into skillet, stir to coat with oil and cook for about a minute. Pour hot marinara sauce all over the meatballs and immediately place into oven for about 8 to 10 minutes or until mixture is bubbly and completely heated through.

Carefully remove and sprinkle the mozzarella over the top. Return to oven for about 3 minutes, or until cheese melts.

By the way, look what made an appearance again y'all - my Fasta Pasta! I'm telling y'all, I do actually find myself reaching for this multiple times a week. It's awfully handy, not only for all kinds of pasta and noodles, but for rice, potatoes, and all kinds of vegetables. Love it!

Spoon the meatballs and marinara over cooked pasta and serve immediately with hot crusty bread and a nice salad on the side.

By the way, leftovers of this on po'boy bread? Divine!

For more of my favorite recipes with meatballs, visit my page on Pinterest!

If you make this or any of my recipes, I'd love to see your results! Just snap a photo and hashtag it #DeepSouthDish on social media or tag me @deepsouthdish on Instagram!


Unable to view the printable below on your device? Tap/click here.

Posted by on May 16, 2016

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