No-Fry Meatballs & Basil-Marinara Sauce, gluten free

Meatball and Basil Marinara

No-fry gluten free Meatball in Basil Marinara Sauce over gluten free pasta

Serves: 8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Onion Mixture for Sauce and Meatballs

3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 or 4 onions, finely chopped
8-12 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1 Tablespoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or more to taste

Marinara Sauce

1 can tomato paste (6 ounces)
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup water
4 large cans (28 ounce size) crushed tomatoes, or whole tomatoes pulsed in a food processor until no longer chunky
1/2 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
2-3 Tablespoons sugar (if needed, to taste)
kosher salt to taste

Pork and Beef Meatballs

4-5 slices gluten free white bread
1/2 to 3/4 cup whole milk
1 pound mild Italian sausage, casings removed
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
2 large eggs
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 1/2 Tablespoons ground fennel
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 pound 80/20 percent lean ground beef

1. Saute Onion: In a large heavy Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat until oil shimmers. Add onion to oil and cook until onion softens and turns a golden yellow, about 10 minutes.

2. Add Spices: Add garlic, oregano, rosemary and pepper to onion and stir until you smell the garlic, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

3. Divide Mixture: Remove from heat and put half of the onions in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

4. Start Sauce: Return pan to heat and turn up to medium-high. Add tomato paste and stir until tomato mixture darkens a bit, about 2 minutes. Add wine, stir to combine, and cook until thickened a bit, about 2 minutes or so. Add water and tomatoes and bring to a boil.

5. Simmer Sauce:Reduce heat and simmer until sauce is reduced and is not longer runny, about an hour. Stir in basil and cheese. Stir in sugar. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

6. Preheat Oven: While sauce simmers, place oven rack in the upper middle position and preheat oven to 475 degrees.

7. Make Meatballs: Mash the bread and milk together. Add to the bowl with the reserved onion mixture. Add sausage, cheeses, parsley and egg to bowl. Toss to combine. Add garlic, fennel, fennel seeds, oregano, salt and pepper and toss to combine. Add ground beef and knead with hands to combine mixture well. Form into 2 1/2 inch diameter balls and place on a rimmed baking sheet. (You will have about 24 meatballs.) Bake for about 20 minutes until tops are browned.

8. Finish & Serve: When sauce is thickened, transfer meatballs to sauce, gently pushing them into the sauce so they are all covered. Simmer sauce and meatballs for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over gluten free pasta sprinkled with shredded Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. Enjoy!

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