The marinara sauce with this recipe is made for speed since it is gently cooked for a short period of time. It is usually served chunky; I tend to make mine smoother to appease the tastes of my children.
Serves: 4 (3 meatballs per serving)
Preparation Time: 22 minutes, Baking Time: 30 minutes
Quick Marinara Sauce
Preparation Time: 5 minutes, Cooking Time: 10 - 15 minutes
To freeze leftover meatballs, place them uncovered on a dish in the freezer for about 10 minutes until they are hard, and then place them in a ziplock freezer bag. This will allow you to take out individual meatballs when you are ready since they won't be stuck together.
If you are really short on time, use a jar of pasta sauce instead of the quick marinara sauce. For a hearty meal, add some pasta and a green salad.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a large roasting pan or a baking sheet with sides. Place the bread and milk into a small bowl, mix together and set aside.
Place the meatloaf mix into a large bowl and add the egg, Parmesan cheese, parsley, and basil. Mix together--it is best to use your hands to ensure everything is evenly distributed.
Squeeze any excess milk from the bread and crumble it into tiny pieces. Add the bread to the meat mixture and mix again.
Take 1/4 cup of the meat into your hands and roll into a ball about 2 inches in diameter. You should have 12 meatballs total. Place the meatballs on the greased pan--do not crowd. Bake for 15 minutes, and then turn. Bake for an additional 15 minutes, turn again and continue to bake until meatballs are browned and cooked through. Let cool slightly and then sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
While the meatballs are baking, make the quick marinara sauce: Place tomatoes and their juice in a food processor fitted with the metal blade (or a blender) and process for 30 to 60 seconds for a chunky sauce. If you prefer a smoother sauce, process for a longer period of time. In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat; add the garlic and shallots and sauté for about one minute. Add tomatoes, oregano, basil and salt. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes.
To serve, place a few tablespoons of the marinara sauce in the bottom of a serving bowl, top with 3 meatballs, drizzle with additional sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.