Make Ahead

Myrtle's Meatball Recipe

August  8, 2010
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

My mom was scarcely an avid cook, but she did make a few things really well, especially her meatballs, her beef stew, and her apple pie. Because she passed away recently, in her honor I want to preserve this recipe. This may not be award-winning to anybody else, but it is pretty special to me. She grew up with Fanny Farmer's cookbook and appreciated classic, simple, uncomplicated food. This meal brought contentment to everyone in our family. —Sagegreen

Test Kitchen Notes

Talk about comfort food. The kitchen was filled with a wonderful warmth and aroma from cooking up the meatballs and making the sauce. The meatballs were little bombs of flavor, tender and juicy. And the best thing was the simplicity. This recipe was a breeze to put together, a perfect option for during the week. We truly enjoyed this recipe! A special thanks to Sagegreen for sharing it with us. —adamnsvetcooking

  • Serves a family of 3 to 5
  • 3/4 cup rolled / old-fashioned oats
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup fresh, finely grated Parmesan cheese (plus additional for serving)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus additional to taste)
  • generous dash of cracked black pepper
  • 1 pound mix of ground sirloin and chuck
  • Spray vegetable oil for pan if meat is lean (I use a heat-tolerate olive oil)
  • 1 large yellow onion, (1/3-inch chop)
  • 1 green pepper, seeded (1/3-inch chop)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped, if you are a garlic fan (this was not part of our early recipe)
  • 4 cups stewed tomatoes with their juices, skins removed
  • 1/2 cup rosé wine (this was added later in our family and wasn't part of the early years of our recipe)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Sprigs of fresh thyme, oregano, and marjoram
  • fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
In This Recipe
  1. Mix the oatmeal, egg, cheese, thyme, oregano, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, salt, and pepper together. Gently add the beef. Roll to form 1-inch balls.
  2. Spray a skillet with oil (if your beef is lean) and bring to high/medium-high heat.
  3. Add the meatballs to hot skillet to brown on all sides, but do not cook through, then transfer them to a plate (my mother put them directly into the Dutch oven).
  4. Saute the onion, green pepper, and garlic (if using) in the skillet. Add the rosé wine (this can help deglaze the pan) and then add everything in the skillet to the Dutch oven.
  5. Add and mix the remaining tomato paste, stewed tomatoes, and herb sprigs in the Dutch oven and bring to a simmer.
  6. Add the seared meatballs and continue to simmer slowly for 35 to 40 minutes. Adjust the seasoning, if needed.
  7. Remove the herb sprigs and bay leaf before serving. Serve with spaghetti and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped parsley.
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