Italian Meatballs with Balsamic/Marsala Sauce

This is another of my low fat specialities. Or maybe not.

The sauce I made with this dish tastes a lot like Swedish meatball sauce, but the meatballs here are distinctly Italian, and could be used with a traditional spaghetti and marinera sauce.

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 6 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tablesppon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup italian bread crumbs (optional)
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup marsala
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 16 oz. package egg noodles

Roast garlic at 325 for 25 minutes. Let cool and peel. At this low temperature the garlic won’t be too soft to manage, but still have that wonderful roasted garlic flavor. Chop garlic, sage, thyme, and add to the ground meat with an egg. Stir this mixture thoroughly.  I add the bread crumbs to soak up a little of the liquid from the egg, and to even out the consistency somewhat. You don’t want too much of that – I’m not trying to make crab cakes here.

Form meatballs out of this concoction – a bit larger than a golf ball seems right to me. That will make about 10 of them. Heat up an iron skillet, start heating the chicken broth in a medium sauce pan, and get some water boiling for your pasta. Brown the meatballs on each side while bringing the broth to a boil. Once the meatballs have been seared and browned on all sides, transfer to the bubbling broth and cook for 10 minutes.  At the same time, get your pot of pasta going – I prefer egg noodles for this.

There won’t be enough fat in the skillet to make a proper sauce, so add 2 tablespoons of butter and melt. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of flour until a nice paste is formed, then pour in balsamic vinegar and marsala. Bring that to bubbling, then add beef broth. Cook sauce until it’s the proper sauce-like consistency, remove meatballs from broth, and serve over egg noodles. Hint on the sauce:  if sauce is too thick, add more liquid. If too thin, cook it some more.

I store any leftover meatballs in the chicken broth.

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