Italian meatballs, baby! Only these are made "Madness" style with a bit of added kick, and of course, some chili peppers to REALLY bring out the flavor. This is a party sized recipe, perfect for a game day bash or a large party appetizer. Or, serve it with pasta for the classic spaghetti and meatballs combo, or pop it onto some rolls for a sandwich. Meatballs are good for any type of dish, it seems. How wonderful for us!
Over the years, in making many a meatball, I have learned a number of different ways to make the meatballs moist and not so dense. Sometimes they can get overly thick and a bit tough to eat if you don't treat them right. One way that works for me, and I've used it in this recipe, is to incorporate cooked onion and peppers. The moisture from those ingredients adds to the overall finished texture of the meatball, keeping that unwanted density at bay. And they bring plenty of flavor and some heat with the cayenne peppers. Yes!
Also, Parmesan cheese. Talk about AWESOME. I almost NEVER make an Italian style meatball recipe without the addition of Parmesan cheese. So good. Seriously, you must try. Today. I added these to a crockpot and brought them over to a party and they disappeared very quickly. Lucky I snagged a couple before I brought them over! The sauce is simple, but that's OK. A good thing, actually. The tomato sauce is imbued with flavor from the cooking meatballs and become rather rich. When they simmer in the pot or the crockpot, the flavor develops even more. Not a lot of tinkering needed!
Patty's Perspective: We were invited to a party and when the host's grill decided to act up, we needed to help with a party food that travels well and doesn't use the grill. And, people needed to love it! Italian Meatballs! They're perfect straight from the pan or from a crockpot. I love how this Italian tomato sauce came through with these meatballs. I feel like a lot of meatballs you get parties don't get a lot of sauce, and I enjoy the sauce. High on Italian flavor. They would be perfect on a sub roll. Can you say, meatball sammich?
Spicy Italian Meatballs - Madness Style
- 1 pound pork
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 roasted Italian sweet peppers (a large red bell is fine as well), chopped
- 2 roasted cayenne peppers, chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons dried Italian seasonings
- 1 tablespoon spicy chili powder
- 4-5 large basil leaves, chopped
- 12 ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil as needed
- Heat a large pan to medium heat and add onion and peppers with a bit of olive oil. Cook about 5 minutes, or until soft. Add garlic and stir. Cook about a minute until it smells good! Remove from heat and cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, add pork, beef, peppers, onion and garlic, Parmesan cheese, panko, Italian herbs, and chili powder. Hand mix to combine, but not too much. Overmixing will make it become mealy.
- Form into 16 2-ounce meatballs and set aside.
- Bring your large pan back to medium-high heat and add some olive oil. Add meatballs and sear them about 1 minute per side, rolling them around a bit to get most of the sides. Get them nicely browned. Drain some of the grease if desired.
- Add tomatoes, tomato sauce and basil. Stir.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer about 20 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through. You can let them simmer longer if you’d like. The flavor of the sauce will develop further with the meatballs.