Appetizers & Dips

spicy italian meatballs with classic marinara appetizer

If you want to up your Super Bowl appetizer game look no further. With Italian sausage, lots of red pepper flakes and smoked sea salt, these meatballs are bold and flavorful.

Sometimes that Dave of mine just nails a dish. Okay, well he pretty much always does, who am I kidding. I had recently planned to make Food & Wine’s Charred Vegetable Ragu – which is fantastic by the way – for a snowy Saturday night dinner in and he felt like cookin’ too. So after some thought he landed on creating his own spicy meatball recipe to use up some ingredients we had on hand.

Dave gets weird when I make sweeping declarations, like “this is the best meatball I’ve ever eaten.” But you guys, this WAS the best meatball I’ve ever eaten. Sure, he had help from pairing them with New York Time’s Classic Marinara Sauce, but the use of Italian Sausage and beef, Parmesan, loads of red pepper flakes + smoked sea salt in the meatballs made the darn things sing with big bold flavor. I thought they were so good, I even ran some across the street to our foodie friends to make sure they could be a part of this epic moment. LOL.

So, have I sold them enough? Really, hope you give these a try. I’m still upset that we’re out of ’em.

Servings: Makes 10 Meatballs (I would double for a party)
Cook Time:

1/2 lb ground beef
2 Italian sausage, uncased
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 tbs milk
1 egg
2 grated garlic cloves
1 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (lesson if you don’t want the heat)
1 1/4 tsp smoked sea salt
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbs olive oil
+ basil and Parmesan for topping
+ marinara sauce linked above (or your favorite sauce) + 1 tbs of soy sauce (trust me here)

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. I find it’s easiest with your hands, but you do you. Make sure everything is mixed well, but try not to over-mix. Shape the meatballs into about 2 tbs a piece round balls, you should end up with 10.

You’ll need the marinara to be in a sauce pan where you will finish the meatballs, so ensure you’ve got that on the stovetop done and ready at a low temp simmering away until you need it.

Next get a large saucepan going on high heat. Add about 5 meatballs at a time to the pan and using a wooden spoon move them around in the pan to brown on all sides using the curve of the spoon to help in keeping their round shape. Once the first batch is done, remove and set aside (but not in the sauce yet).

When both batches are done getting browned, add them into the marinara sauce you have going on a simmer. Cook these for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the internal temperature reads 165.

Plate them up on a tray by layering a good dollop of the marinara sauce down, then the meatballs, then fresh grated parm and fresh cut basil.

I’m telling you guys – you will fall in luuurrrrve.

8 thoughts on “spicy italian meatballs with classic marinara appetizer

  1. Hey Annie! I gave this recipe a shout out on my latest blog post. Just wanted you to know that I did make these meatballs and they were stupendous, so I had to include it in a post. Hope all is well with you and your hubby in this crazy pandemic situation we are all in right now 🙂

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