Homemade black Angus meatballs have a secret finishing trick to deliver maximum flavor.
Meatball and spaghetti season has arrived. And Atticmag’s favorite recipe chef Lisa Deyo —who lends her talents to the recipe testing and photography for this blog — makes some really mean homemade black Angus meatballs from her Italian family recipe, which she’s sharing here. Two things about Lisa’s all-beef meatballs stand out: first is that she prefers ground black Angus beef (80% lean 20% fat ideally) for it’s excellent flavor. Second, is that instead of traditional breadcrumbs (which are perfectly fine) she likes to use dry, flaky Japanese panko breadcrumbs to keep the meatballs tender. Panko and milk are the binder here — the recipe has no egg. Most of the other seasonings for the meatballs are dry pantry items for most kitchens.
The meatballs start out with a panko/milk base to which all the remaining seasonings are added.
Chunks of the ground black Angus beef tops off the seasoning mixture.
Lisa believes the meatballs are best when the mixture is worked just enough to mix it thoroughly, but not too much — it should look a little marbled.
Then she uses a tablespoon to measure out 24 little spheres — a great yield from one pound of ground beef.
Continuing with her light touch (Lisa comes from a family of artists) she just pushes the scoop of meat mixture into little balls.
And rather than dirty another dish, the meatballs just get stacked up the side of the mixing bowl until it’s time to cook them.
Browning the meatballs takes just a few minutes because they don’t get completely cooked — that’s one of the secrets to the success of the recipe. The meatballs are cooked rare and then drained on paper towels.
Then they go into the prepared sauce (either homemade or a high-end prepared brand like Rao’s or Bertolli organic).
After a few minutes of simmering, the meatballs are cooked and their cooking juices have also enhanced the flavor of the sauce!
We had fettuccine on hand so we used that instead of spaghetti but that doesn’t change the way the cooked pasta is handled. Once drained, it’s tossed in a little olive oil to remove excess liquid.
Then, about half the sauce is tossed with the pasta to coat it with flavor. Finally, the pasta and sauce are ready for the black Angus meatballs and additional sauce on top — the perfect finish to a family favorite.