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This dish is great for nights when the weather is slightly cold or dreary.  The leftovers can be used in sandwiches the next day – guaranteed to bring a smile!  You can serve these meatballs as an entree with a simple side salad or over pasta or bread.

You can experiment with both the meatballs and the sauce.  Sometimes I like to add pinenuts to the meatballs.  I also like to herbs to the sauce when the herbs are in season.

Ingredients

For the meatballs:
2 medium shallots
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
2 medium eggs
3/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese
3/4 cup  freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs (or your favorite bread crumbs, very finely processed)
1 tsp. fine sea salt
cracked pepper

For the sauce:
6 cloves garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cans (20+ ounces) or boxes of great quality chopped Italian tomatoes (I use Pomi chopped tomatoes that come in a box.)
1/2 cup good quality wine (I typically use a Sangiovese in this and then serve the rest with the meal. Make sure it is a wine that you like to drink, not what is known as “cooking wine”.)
1 teaspoon sugar
Fine sea salt (start with 1/2 teaspoon and then taste to see if you need more. I typically use about 1 teaspoon in mine.)
Cracked pepper
Fresh basil or oregano, chopped (optional)

You will also need:
Large mixing bowl
Cutting board
Chef’s knife
Very large skillet
Large spoon
Tongs
1 cup of water, divided into 2 half cups

Instructions
Make the meatballs first.  Finely chop the shallots.  Slice the two garlic cloves in half and remove the green sprout.  Finely chop the garlic.  Place the chopped shallots and chopped garlic into the mixing bowl.  Add the ground beef, eggs, ricotta cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and the bread crumbs.  Add 1 teaspoon of fine sea salt and some cracked pepper, to taste.  Mix it all together and form meatballs that are about an inch and a half in diameter.

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Set them aside.

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Make the sauce by removing the skin from the six cloves of garlic.  Cut them in half and remove the green sprout inside.  Heat the olive oil in the skillet over medium high heat.  Add the garlic halves and saute them until they start to become slightly brown and aromatic.

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Pour in the tomatoes and the wine.  Add the sugar.  Stir to blend.  Add chopped herbs, if using.

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Cook over medium-high heat until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Add salt, to taste, along with cracked pepper.

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Add the meatballs.  Pour 1/2 cup of water over the top and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes.

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After 10 minutes, turn the meatballs.  Pour another 1/2 cup water over the top and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for another 10-12 minutes until the meatballs are done.

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Before serving, sprinkle grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese over the top, along with chopped fresh basil or oregano, if desired.

Serves 4 (with hopefully some leftovers for sandwiches).

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