I think meatballs have been done a disservice by always being served with spaghetti. They belong alongside the best food ever and nowhere else. I'm talking about TOAST obviously! Meatballs are also usually made by frying them first, which is delicious but also messy and time consuming. So, when I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen that just cooks the meatballs right in the sauce I was excited although skeptical they would measure up. They were delicious and I topped them at the end with Mozzarella and broiled them for a few minutes to get an amazing cheese topping before scooping them onto some freshly baked bread with butter and garlic salt. Next time I want to try them as sliders on Hawaiian buns.
1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup low fat milk
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp grated parmesan
2 tsp kosher sea salt DIVIDED
2 garlic cloves minced DIVIDED (I use the jar garlic)
2 tbsp olive oil
28 oz can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
8 oz mozzarella cheese sliced
Bread of choice for toasting (I used the half baked rolls from Trader Joe's. They need about 8 minutes in the oven to be crusty on the outside and soft in the middle)
Butter and Lawry's Garlic Salt to taste
Mix together meat, bread crumbs, parmesan, milk, parsley, 1 tsp salt, half the garlic and eggs using a fork or your hands. Shape meat into small balls, place on a plate and refrigerate them for 30 minutes to help them keep their shape when cooking (I was impatient and only refrigerated them for 10 minutes and it was fine). While meatballs are chilling, heat olive oil in a large oven safe pot (I used a large dutch oven). Cook remaining garlic for about 2 minutes and then add the tomatoes and remaining salt. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
Add meatballs one at a time and cover with a lid AND DON'T TOUCH FOR 20 MINUTES (or they will break apart). Also at the 20 minute mark, turn the oven on broil while the meatballs finish cooking. This is also a good time to get your bread toasting. At about 25 minutes they should be done, and place slices of mozzarella over the meatballs. Place in the oven and broil for about 2 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbling.
Butter toast and sprinkle with garlic salt. Serve meatballs and cheese on top of or next to toast.