Lettuce in meatballs? I know it sounds weird, but it really works. Tons of chopped lettuce and onion in the meatball mixture gives them an interesting crunchy-crispy texture when freshly cooked. (Picky kids may object to that texture, just because it’s different, but give them a try!) After a time, especially if the meatballs are frozen, the texture disappears, but the meatballs remain juicy and succulent. Plus, the vegetables lighten up the meatballs and lowers their per-ball calore count without sacrificing flavor. The meatballs are simmered in a thick, flavorful tomato sauce.
This is a really versatile recipe that can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days, or put into your freezer stash. You can make this for dinner and serve it over hot pasta, and set aside some for your bento the next day. It goes well with pasta or rice, can be a filling for a assemble-at-lunch sandwich, and so on.
Makes about 25 to 30 meatballs plus sauce
For the meatballs:
For the tomato sauce:
In a large bowl, combine the meatball ingredients with your very clean hands. Combine well - it will seem too crumbly at first due to all the onion and lettuce, but it will all come together. Keep mixing until the mixture sticks together when formed into balls.
Divide into 25 to 30 portions or more. Roll each portion into a round ball. Heat up 1 or 2 large frying pans or skillets with olive oil, and brown the meatballs on all sides. Set aside.
In the meantime, make the tomato sauce. In a heavy-bottomed pan, sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil until softened. Add the canned tomato and sprig of rosemary. When the sauce is bubbling, drop in the browned meatballs. Simmer the sauce until thickened over medium-low heat. Let cool before storing in the refrigerator or freezer.
This will keep in the refrigerator for a few days, or in the freezer for a month.