(makes about 2 dozen, 1 and 1/2-inch meatballs)
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 and 3/4 pounds 80% lean ground beef
– 1/2 pound mortadella, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
– 2 large eggs
– 1 carrot, finely diced
– 1 celery stalk, finely diced
– 1 onion, finely diced
– 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
– 1/4 cup heavy cream
– 1/4 cup crushed canned tomatoes
– 1 cup bread crumbs
– 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
– 2 teaspoons salt
– 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Drizzle the olive oil into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and use your hand to evenly coat the entire surface. Set aside.
Combine the ground beef, mortadella, eggs, carrots, celery, onions, parsley, cream, tomatoes, bread crumbs, oregano, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated.
Roll the mixture into round, golf ball-size meatballs (about 1 and 1/2 inches), making sure to pack the meat firmly. Place the balls in the prepared baking dish, being careful to line them up snugly and in even rows vertically and horizontally to form a grid. The meatballs should be touching one another.
Roast for 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through. A meat thermometer is inserted into the center of a meatball should read 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Allow the meatballs to cool for 5 minutes in the baking dish before serving.
CLASSIC TOMATO SAUCE
-1 onion, finely chopped
-1 bay leaf
-1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
-2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
-2 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more as needed
-2 tablespoons tomato paste
-2 (26-ounce) boxes chopped tomatoes, such as Pomi, or 2 (28-ounce) cans whole plum tomatoes in their juices, chopped