Frugal Recipe of the Week: Buffalo Meatballs

Frugal Recipe of the Week: Buffalo Meatballs

I made a batch of meatballs the other day which were delicious, but interestingly enough, also stretched just under two pounds of meat into at least four meals if not six. I’m looking at a lot of cookbooks right now for BookSlut, and this recipe is very loosely adapted from the one in the A16 cookbook.

I used buffalo because it’s readily available here, and because this story in the New York Times (and this one about how Costco actually tests for E. Coli) only amped up my deep suspicion of all ground beef, even when I know the butchers at my supermarket have ground it themselves. Buffalo is more local, and even though it was more expensive, I just felt better about it. Plus, I didn’t need very much.

  • .75 pound buffalo (or a pound, I split a 1.5 pound package in half)
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 ounces pancetta, diced very fine (or chopped in the food processor)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup ricotta (I used the end of a container of Greek yogurt instead because that’s what I had on hand)
  • 6 ounces bread (about half a baguette), reduced to crumbs in a food processor
  • 2 ounces shredded parmesan or asiago cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 onion, diced finely
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 3 tbsp. finely chopped parsley

First,  beat the eggs, milk and ricotta until just incorporated. Add all the other ingredients to a big bowl, add the egg mixture, and mix thoroughly with your hands. You don’t want the mixture to become gummy, but you want an even distribution of ingredients.

Using a soup spoon or a small scoop, roll out golf-ball sized meatballs. Put them on sheet pans and bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. After you’ve baked them off, this is where you decide what you’re eating tonight, and what you’re saving for later. I figured 4 meatballs for each of us, which was plenty. The rest I put on one sheet pan and popped into the freezer. The next day they can be put in ziploc bags.

For the meatballs you plan to eat tonight. Put them in a casserole dish, and cover with tomato sauce. Cover the casserole tightly with foil and bake at 300 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Serve over lots of spaghetti with more cheese on top. (Preferably while watching baseball playoffs!)

Although I haven’t experimented with it yet, I imagine you could pop frozen meatballs into the casserole when you come home from work, cover with tomato sauce and cook for probably an hour and you’d have an easy mid-week dinner.

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