Monday, January 16, 2012

Florentine Meatballs

Meatballs are my go to when ever I have any kind of ground meat on hand. I have made this recipe with ground chicken, turkey and ground beef. My favorite is a mix of beef, pork and veal but feel free to use 1 ½ pounds of your favorite ground meat. I like to make a double batch of meatballs and freeze them for a quick weeknight meal along with my Fifteen Minute Tomato Sauce or Simple Tomato Sauce that has been frozen and reheated on the stovetop.

Florentine Meatballs with Cheese Sauce
recipe adapted from Rachael Ray

½ pound ground pork
½ pound ground veal
½ pound ground round
5 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
½ cup finely grated Parmesan
1 whole egg
1 ½ teaspoons dried basil
1 ½ teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ cup bread crumbs

Cheese Sauce
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup chicken stock
2 cups shredded provolone cheese
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ cup parsley leaves, chopped

Preheat the oven to 400ยบ F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the pork, veal, ground round, spinach, cheese, egg, basil, parsley, garlic powder, salt, red pepper flakes, and bread crumbs. Using your hands, mix all ingredients until well incorporated. Use immediately or place in refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

Using your hands, shape the meatballs into rounds and place them on a nonstick baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

While meatballs are in the oven, heat a small sauce pot over medium heat. Melt 2 tablespoons butter, add the onion and cook 2 minutes. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute, then whisk in milk and chicken stock. Bring liquid up to a boil then stir in the shredded cheese. Season the sauce with salt, pepper and nutmeg and reduce the heat to the lowest setting until ready to serve.

To serve, place your desired number of meatballs on plates; top with sauce and garnish with parsley.