Roasted Meatballs in Tomato-Basil Sauce

Roasted Meatballs in Tomato-Basil Sauce

Recipe by Rachael Ray

  • 4Servings


  • About 1 cup (a couple of handfuls) fresh breadcrumbs or 1/2 cup dried
  • 1/3- 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 pounds mixed ground meat (beef, pork and veal)
  • 1/8 pound pancetta, finely chopped
  • About 1/3 cup each grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and grated Pecorino Romano, plus more for serving
  • About 4 tbsp. EVOO, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons (a small handful) fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic -- 3 finely chopped or grated, 2 crushed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (about 1/2 palmful) dried onion flakes
  • 1 teaspoon (about 1/3 palmful) dried oregano
  • About 3/4 tsp. (a scant 1/3 palmful) fennel pollen or fennel seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 fat pinches) crushed red pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 can (28 oz.) San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup (a handful) fresh basil leaves, torn
  • Crusty bread, for mopping


Position a rack in the center of the oven; preheat to 475 degrees .

Preheat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high.

In a medium bowl, mix the breadcrumbs and milk to moisten. Add the ground meat, pancetta, 1/3 cup of each cheese, 2 tbsp. EVOO, two turns of the bowl, the egg, parsley, chopped garlic, onion flakes, oregano, fennel pollen and crushed red pepper; season with salt and pepper and gently mix to blend. Roll the mixture into 2- to 2 1/2-inch meatballs and drizzle with a little more EVOO.

Add the remaining 2 tbsp. EVOO to the skillet, two turns of the pan; melt in the butter. Add the crushed garlic and stir until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the wine and cook, stirring often, until slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Add the stock and the tomatoes and their juices, crushing the tomatoes with your hands as you add them. Season with salt; add the basil, stirring to wilt. Set the meatballs into the sauce but do not cover (tops should be exposed). Roast until the meat is just cooked through and the tops are browned, 15 to 18 minutes.

Serve meatballs from the skillet with crusty bread for mopping and extra cheese for topping.