Tender, spicy, little meatballs baked in tomato sauce and a pool of luscious, molten cheesy goodness.  Where's the spaghetti?


♪♫♥  On top of spaghetti
         All covered with cheese
         Just plop all the meatballs
         Oh yes, please, please, please. ♪♫♥

This one is fun to serve, and fun to make.  Easy too.  No need to fry the meatballs first.  No need to cook the tomato sauce ahead of time.  Everything goes in one dish in the oven, all in good time. 

The only other thing you have to do is cook up some al dente spaghetti, or your favorite pasta.  And devour.  With gusto! 

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Adapted from Half Baked Harvest for
The Last Wonton.  Thanks Tieghan, I love the way you roll!

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1/2 pound spicy (or sweet) Italian sausage meat
1/2 pound lean ground beef
2 slices thick soft white bread
1 egg
1/3 cup fresh oregano chopped OR 1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon sambal oelek (Asian chile paste)

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 plump garlic cloves, minced
28-ounce tin san marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
2 tablespoons sambal oelek
1 teaspoon sugar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 ounces fresh good quality mozzarella, sliced
4 ounces (about 1 cup) provolone, shredded
4 ounces (about 1 cup) aged cheddar, shredded
fresh oregano for serving
Pasta cooked al dente for plopping the cheesy meatballs on top of.

Preheat oven to 450F.  Grease a 9x13-inch, or similar size baking dish with olive oil.

Add the Italian sausage and ground beef to a mixing bowl.  Take the bread and run it under water until dampened, but not soaked.  Gently squeeze the excess water out of the bread and then crumble the dampened bread into pieces and add to the bowl with the meat.  To the bowl, add the egg, oregano, cumin, soy sauce and 1 tablespoon sambal. 

Coat your hands with a bit of olive oil and roll the meat into about 2 tablespoon size balls.  Will make 12-15 meatballs.  Place the meatballs in the prepared baking dish and place in the oven.  Bake for about 12 minutes or until the meatballs are crisp on the outside, but not yet cooked through on the inside.

While the meatballs are baking, combine the olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, 2 tablespoons sambal, sugar and a hefty pinch of salt and pepper into a bowl.  Once the meatballs are ready, pour the sauce over them.  Cover the pan with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes longer or until the meatballs are cooked through. 

Remove the foil and add the cheese.  Place back in the oven until the cheeses are melted and golden, about 10 minutes.  Serve plopped on top of your favorite pasta with a little extra fresh oregano.  Mangiamo!


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