Who doesn’t like meatballs? Seriously, there is nothing better than having some home-cooked meatballs and pasta when you’re feeling down or had a hard day. Often, though, I feel like I just don’t have the time to make them.
…In comes the slow cooker! My best friend and all-time favorite. Worried that this is too difficult? I was too, but then I made these slow-cooker meatballs, and my life got so much easier.
To make these, I like using Italian sausage and ground meat. Though I make my own sausage, you don’t have to, and you can change up the time of ground meat you use. I always go with ground beef because I like my classic flavor.
Also, for time sake I use canned diced tomatoes and tomato sauce, but you can dice your fresh tomatoes, and make your own sauce. This recipe is flexible, try it, and make it your own!
Bring on the Italian feast!
ITALIAN SLOW-COOKER MEATBALLS:
Servings:10 / Prep time: 20-25 minutes / Cook time: 7-9 hours
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- 2 oz. parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
- 1 cup milk
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 lb ground beef
- ½ lb Italian sausage
- 1 onion
- 2 ½ tbsp olive oil
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 can crushed tomatoes
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 can tomato sauce
- 2 ½ tsp brown sugar
- Bunch of fresh basil
Optional: 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
- Preheat your oven to 430 degrees F. Combine your breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, milk, egg, and half of the garlic in a bowl. Let it sit for about 10 minutes.
- After it has set, add beef and sausage. Combine thoroughly using your hands.
- Take piece by piece out of meat and turn into 36 small balls. About 1 to 1 ½ inch each.
- Take a baking sheet and place some olive oil on it. Place your meatballs and bake them for 15 minutes, until they are browned.
- In another bowl, preferably a microwaveable one, mix onion, remaining olive oil, Italian seasoning, red pepper, paprika, and remaining garlic.
- Microwave the mix until onion is tender. Stir once. Do this for about 3-4 minutes.
- Combine onion mix, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and sugar in your slow cooker bowl.
- Place meatballs and gently cover them with sauce. Cover and cook on low for about 7-9 hours.
- Serve over your favorite pasta with basil, and shredded mozzarella.
I love garlic, so I use a lot of it, but feel free to change the amount you use. Also, if you’re running low on time, simply set up your slow cooker to high temperature and cook for 3-4 hours.
If you want to give this dish even more flavor, consider adding chopped black olives or capers to the sauce. I use shredded mozzarella to top it all off, as I love how it melts just enough, but you can skip this step if you want, or you can add more parmesan cheese instead.
Ready for this Italian feast? Cook your favorite pasta according to box instructions, serve with your home cooked slow-cooked meatballs, and pick your favorite Italian red wine. This is a dish that will surely become a favorite for you and your family.
The beauty of the slow cooker is that it does most of the work without the need of supervision. Leave the meatballs ready in the morning before work, and come to a mouthwatering smell in your home in the afternoon when you’re meatballs are ready.