The great thing about meatballs and sauce is that they’re easy to make, last a while in the fridge, and are an easy grab and go snack/meal. This time, I’ve made quite a few in advance, two types actually (spicy pork and beef) so that I can bring them to work with me for lunch. With the exception of the sliced bread and ricotta cheese, okay those are both clearly big no-no’s in paleo cuisine, these guys and the sauce are completely paleo. I say, start with the best possible recipe and then get it paleo friendly. Almond meal for bread is a pretty easy substitution, and although the ricotta tasted great in the beef meat balls, I think they’d taste almost as good without it and be a ton healthier. That’s what I’ll be doing the next time I make these.

Adapted from The Meatball Shop, NYC…

Spicy Pork Meatballs:
2 TBSP good olive oil (per Cooks Illustrated Lucini, Colavita, or Columela)
2 lbs ground Pork Shoulder (my supermarket didn’t have it labeled as “shoulder” so I chose the one with fewer calories)
1/2 TBSP salt (Meatball Shop uses 1TBSP plus 1 tsp, which I thought was way too much)
2-3 TBSP Cento diced hot cherry peppers
1/4 cup Cento hot cherry pepper pickling liquid (if you get the minced ones, there’s not much liquid, so I used a little liquid from Martini olives)
4 1/2 inch think sliced sourdough bread, minced
3 large Omega-3 rich eggs

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Drizzle olive oil into a baking dish and move it from side to side to evenly coat the surface. Set it aside.
  • Combine the pork, salt, cherry peppers, pickling liquid, and eggs in a large mixing bowl and mix by hand until evenly incorporated
  • Grab a medium size handful of the mixture, flatten into a patty in your palm, and then roll it back up into a golf-ball size ball. Put the balls into the baking dish, making sure they are touching and snug together and form an even grid.
  • Put in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through. You should see a little brown on top. Make sure you have adequate ventilation, as this is probably going to create a pretty decent amount of smoke. Ground pork should be between 160 and 165 degrees, so if you’re concerned about doneness, check it with a meat thermometer.
  • Let the meatballs cool for a few minutes and then ladle some sauce into a bowl, put a few meatballs in and then cover with some more sauce!

Beef Meatballs:
2 TBSP good olive oil
2 lbs 93% lean ground beef (you can use 80% chuck for full effect)
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 large Omega-3 eggs
1/2 cup fresh sourdough bread (minced)
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 TBSP chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
2 tsp salt
1/4 – 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes to taste
1/3 tsp ground fennel

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Drizzle olive oil into a baking dish and move it from side to side to evenly coat the surface. Set it aside.
  • Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl until well incorporated
  • Grab a medium size handful of the mixture, flatten into a patty in your palm, and then roll it back up into a golf-ball size ball. Put the balls into the baking dish, making sure they are touching and snug together and form an even grid.
  • Put in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through. You should see a little brown on top. These ones didn’t make nearly as much smoke as the pork meatballs, but good ventilation is always a good idea.
  • Let the meatballs cool for a few minutes after the timer goes off and then ladle some sauce into a bowl, put a few meatballs in and then cover with some more sauce!

Sunday Sauce:
2 TBSP good olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
pinch of salt
2 tsp red pepper flakes
4 TBSP tomato paste (I prefer the ones that comes in a tube because it lasts forever. Amore is good, so is Whole Foods’)
2 28-oz cans of tomatoes (per CooksIllustrated, Hunts and then Muir Glen organic. For this recipe, I used Hunts no salt added, and it turned out great. I bought the whole tomatoes and pulsed them real quick in the blender to break them down, but you could certainly just by diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes also.)
Optional: 1/4 cup dry white wine

  • In a large saucepan, heat up the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add the yellow onion,  pinch of salt, and red pepper flakes and continue to cook over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes until the onions are getting brown and translucent. Stir every few minutes.
  • If you’re going to add the wine, now would be the time to do so.
  • Once the wine has cooked off for about a minute or not if you didn’t add it, add in the tomato paste and let that cook for another 5 minutes. Make sure you stir so nothing burns.
  • Add the canned tomatoes, bring the heat up to medium, and stir as the sauce begins to boil. Keep uncovered.
  • You can cook this for as long as you want really, but at least 30 minutes would be good. You’ll know when it’s ready when the sauce gets nice and thick.
  • Ladle over the delicious meatballs you were making in the meantime.

 

 

 

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