Use your own home-grown herbs.
These are my favorite oven-baked meatballs — tender and flavorful, along with my simple, go-to sauce. Herbs enhance both. With minimal time and effort — much less than what goes into a vegetable garden – you can enjoy fresh herbs anywhere from seven months on Martha’s Vineyard to the whole year, depending on your time zone. Read the full herb story here.
1 pound local ground beef (85 percent)
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan reggiano
1/3 cup plain bread crumbs or panko
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1 large egg yolk
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
¾ teaspoon kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon table salt)
Freshly ground black pepper
Tomato Sauce Ingredients
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 cloves minced garlic
2 cans (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, drained, roughly blended in a food processor
Fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano, or 2 teaspoons dried oregano
large pinch of sugar
salt to taste
1 pound spaghetti
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- For the meatballs: combine all the ingredients into a bowl and mix lightly. Form meatballs. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place meatballs on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for approximately 12-14 minutes – try one to test doneness.
- For the sauce, add olive oil along with garlic to a medium saucepan and saute until garlic is golden, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, a branch of basil leaves, oregano and parsley, bringing to a boil, and simmer gently until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Stir in a bit more chopped basil or chopped parsley, add salt to taste. Add meatballs until heated through, but try not to “cook” any longer to preserve tenderness.
- Meanwhile, bring water to boil in large pot for cooking pasta. Add 1 tablespoon salt and cook pasta al dente. Drain. Top with meatballs and sauce. Serve immediately with grated parmesan cheese