Square Meatballs with Pomodoro Sauce

For a better sear, Stefan Bowers of Battalion in San Antonio, Texas presses his meatball mixture into a rectangle and then cuts it into squares, instead of rolling into a ball. Slideshow: More Meatball Recipes 

Square Meatballs with Pomodoro Sauce
Photo: Phoebe Melnick / Food & Wine
Yield:
4 to 6

Ingredients

SAUCE:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 small onion, finely chopped

  • 4 minced garlic cloves

  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 4 basil sprigs, plus chopped leaves for garnish

  • One 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

  • Kosher salt

MEATBALLS:

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground pork

  • 1 3/4 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for garnish

  • 1 cup shredded Asiago cheese

  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella

  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped

  • 4 minced garlic cloves

  • 1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1/2 cup packed finely chopped parsley

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped oregano

  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon

  • 1 tablespoon of kosher salt

  • Pepper

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Make the sauce In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the basil, tomatoes and sugar and simmer until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. Add the vinegar and season with salt. Keep warm.

  2. Make the meatballs Line a small rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl and using your hands, combine all of the ingredients except for the olive oil. Scrape the meat onto the baking sheet and press into a 9-by-13 inch single layer. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

  3. Cut the ground meat into 2-by-2 inch squares. In a large nonstick pan, heat the olive oil. Cook the “meatballs”, turning once, until they are a deep brown and just cooked through, about 10 minutes.

  4. To serve, place a spoonful of the pomodoro sauce in 4 shallow bowls. Top with meatballs and garnish with chopped basil and more parmesan.

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