Episode 17


Slow Cooker Meatballs & Marinara


Onion mixture:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped fine
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
6 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup red wine
2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes

4 ounces Italian sausage, casings removed
2 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (1/2 cup)
1 ounce parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
2 large eggs
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 pounds 85 percent lean ground beef
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 ounce parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
kosher salt

For the onion mixture:
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, tomato paste, garlic, oregano, pepper flakes, and salt and cook until softened and lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer half of the onion mixture to a large bowl and set aside.

For the marinara:
Add wine to the remaining onion mixture in pot and cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, then transfer to a slow cooker.

For the meatballs:
Add sausage, mozzarella, parmesan, eggs, garlic and salt to bowl with reserved onion mixture. Mash with a potato masher until smooth. Add beef and cream to bowl and knead with hands until well combined. Lightly shape mixture into 2-inch round meatballs (about 12 total). Microwave meatballs on large plate until fat renders and meatballs are firm, 4 to 7 minutes. Nestle meatballs into slow cooker, discarding rendered fat. Cover and cook until meatballs are tender and sauce is slightly thickened, 4 to 5 hours on low. Let meatballs and sauce settle for 5 minutes, then skim fat from surface and stir in Parmesan and basil. Season with salt to taste. Serve.