...Rosemary Panko Meatballs in Rosé Sauce

You might have seen Darrin's mozzarella meatballs recipe.  I would like to think this one is better - moist, garlicy, tender meatballs in a beautiful creamy rosé sauce.  The panko gives the meatballs a lighter, almost 'fluffier' texture compared to regular bread crumbs.  Add rosemary, basil and garlic into the mix and you have a meatball sauce that is definitely a winner.

Ingredients (Yields 4 servings)

- 1.5 lbs lean ground beef (you can choose to do half and half beef and pork)
- 1.5 cups panko
- 1 large egg
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary (a bit less if dried), finely chopped
- 1 tsp fresh basil, finely chopped
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper

Rosé Sauce
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 tomato, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 small can of tomato paste (6 oz.)
- 1.5 cups of half and half (you can use cream)
- 1.5 tsp basil, finely chopped


1. In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the meatballs listed above just until the panko crumbs are incorporated.  Do not over mix.

2. Use a 1/4 cup to measure out even amounts of meat mixture for each meatball.  

3. In a large skillet, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.  On medium high heat, fry each side of the meatball until golden brown.  They do not have to be completely cooked through.

4.  If necessary, use a paper towel to clean off any burnt bits in the pan.  For the sauce, add a tablespoon of olive oil and fry the onions, garlic and tomato until the tomato is soft.  If you want your sauce to be ultra smooth, you can choose to blend these ingredients in a food processor until it turns into a paste, before cooking.  I like the texture in my sauce so I didn't do this step, but even then, it is hardly noticeable.

5.  Add the tomato paste and half and half.  Adjust the thickness of the sauce by adding water.   Sprinkle on the basil.  Put the meatballs back into the pan to simmer and finish cooking.  Put the lid on the pan if you have a lid, if not, just make sure to add enough water so the sauce does not dry up.  Half way through the cooking, turn the meatballs over to ensure they are cooked through.

6. Cook up your favourite pasta and add the meatball sauce on top with a few small basil leaves for garnish.  



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