Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sketti 'n Meatballs

Any man who likes to enjoy the odd roll-around quality time with his significant other learns how to push her buttons. No, not those buttons, dear reader, I'm talking mushy, love-language type stuff.

One of my favorite buttons of Starr's is her love of good food. I'm no great chef, but I have a couple of recipes in my back pocket that I like to pull out on a more or less regular basis, one of which is Meatballs Marinara, or Sketti 'n Meatballs.

I started making meatballs using a recipe from Mama's Minutae, but have since changed so many things that it has become my own, so it's time to chronicle the meatballs here!

Ryan's Sketti 'n Meatballs1


2 lbs ground beef
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup bread crumbs, Italian seasoned
1/2 cup milk
1 cup shredded Parmesan (not that powdery grated stuff that comes in a shaker can -- that's for pizza!)
1 lemon for zesting
Italian seasoning
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 onion, chopped
Fresh garlic, chopped, or the good jarred stuff
More Italian seasoning
Olive oil

Toss your onion in a skillet with some olive oil. Cook until soft, then dump in 2T Italian seasoning and the garlic for a minute or so. I usually wind up adding 3 T of garlic, so if you're like me and afeared that a sparkly emo-vampire is going to steal your honey, load it up!

While your onion is going, mix up the rest of it. Start by putting the milk and bread crumbs together in a small bowl so the bread soaks up the milk. You're looking for a pasty consistency, so add a bit more milk if it's too dry.

In a large mixing bowl, enact violence on your eggs with a whisk, then mix in the cheese and salt/pepper. Zest about 1 tsp of the lemon into the mix, and add another T of Italian seasoning, because you're feeling saucy, right? When your bread crumbs and sauteeing bits are ready, add them. Mix it all together well, then add the beef.

You can use the big fork method or the Great-Scott-that's-unsanitary bare handed method of mixing your meat with its sundries. I'm not here to judge2, just get it mixed well.

Oven at 375 F (190 C), use your favorite size disher3 to plop wads of meat onto a big baking sheet (I'd recommend a #10 because I like each meatball to be roughly the size of Starr's... fists).

You'll need to bake them for at least 20 minutes, but as much as 40 if you make them as big as I do. Flip them over when they're halfway done.

When done, put them in the sauce you made while the meatballs were baking, which I'm about to tell you how to make.


2, 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
Fresh garlic, chopped, or the jarred stuff
Still more Italian seasoning4
Black pepper
Brown sugar
Olive oil

Chef's note: This is a very purist recipe (tastes JUST like Chef Boyardee5). If you like to toss a lot of odd crap in there (like vegetables, YUCK!), that's your lookout, but I'll have no part in it, I tell you!

In a large pot, saute your onion, garlic and Italian seasoning (about 2T again) in the olive oil just as you did above. Upend both cans of crushed tomatoes haphazardly into the pot (don't shake the can more than twice, 'else you're playing with it).

Add salt and pepper to taste (and actually taste it), then add some brown sugar. If you're new to sauce that doesn't come a jar with some made-up Italianesque name printed on it, 2 T is a good starting point for brown sugar, but you might need more if your tomatoes are super-pucker inducing.


After you add the meatballs, let it simmer for at least another hour, more if you can. You almost can't start this recipe too early. Just before you serve, mutilate one or two of your meatballs and stir them into the sauce.


I know this doesn't require its own section. Pick your favorite and read the instructions on the box.

Now you get this:

Good Appetite!

1 That's right, I'm CLAIMING them.
2 Yes I am, and that's gross.
3 You might know it as an "ice cream scoop," you ingrate. Haven't you ever watched Good Eats?
4 I may or may not have gone through an entire shaker of Italian seasoning in one recipe. Ain't tellin'.
5 This is definitely a lie.


  1. okay - so i vouch for this delicious recipe - it was FANTASTIC, so glad you shared the making steps! that said, i still think we may just have to have you cook it for us regularly.


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