Inspired by a traditional recipe of Corfu in Greece, these Pastitsada Meatballs are not your typical keftedes. These are packed with onions, garlic, cinnamon, and cloves.
Have you ever made a recipe (either created by you or someone else) that you just love and want to make all the time? For me, this is one of those recipes. I’ve almost been hesitant to share these pastitsada meatballs with you because once I do, I might not make them again. And that would suck. Because I love this recipe.
And no, I’m not just saying that because it’s my recipe.
I’m saying that because these meatballs in THIS sauce are amazing. Which is surprising to me because I’m not a huge fan of pastitsio. No, really, I’m not. I’ve made it a few times and just cannot seem to appreciate all the flavors and textures that goes into that dish. But, for some reason, this dish that is closely related to pastitsio in flavors I could eat all the time.
It sort of reminds me of the aushak we made a few years ago. I need to get back on cooking the world. I need to redo those photos!! Man, those aren’t so great. But, it was fun getting S to help me make the dumplings even though he wasn’t a huge fan of the sauce. But he did like this sauce. And he even liked polenta I served with this dish. Usually, I make egg noodles, but this time I wanted to make some polenta. And it was a good decision!
The hubs is always a bit…unadveturous when it comes to certain things. He’s not a fan of quinoa, grits, and haven’t expressed interest in trying polenta. But, I just threw caution to the wind and decided to just make it. If he liked it, great! If not, well, then that means there’s more for me to eat.
Surprisingly, a few weeks later, he said that he actually liked the polenta. I was shocked!! I mean, knowing he doesn’t like grits I totally was surprised to find out he liked the polenta. Which is AWESOME! Because, that means I can make it a little more than I had before. But, I’m sure I can’t make it as much as I want. I have to ease into it a little slowly and work up to having it more often.
Sort of like this recipe.
I had to work up to it. I made it once with not so much reception. I loved it. I made it again, not any comments. I LOVED it! And the last time, there still wasn’t any feedback on the recipe, but I thought it tasted amazing and was the perfect version to share with y’all. The tomato sauce has a nice, tangy tomato flavor with some sweet spices. So, it sort of tastes slightly sweet, but only because of the spices.
But, don’t let those spices deter you from making this recipe. There’s a great balance between the tang of the tomatoes, the rich flavor of the meat, and the typically sweet spices in the sauce and meatballs. They all come together and truly do take you from your kitchen that island in the Ionian Sea, Corfu. Not that I’ve been there before, but, I’m just saying, this meal took me at least across the border into the Mediterranean somewhere.
I imagined those typical Greek houses on the hillside, the breeze blowing off the sea as I sat there with my husband dining on these pastitsada meatballs and polenta. I thought about amazing olive oil and bread, wine, and baklava!! Oh the baklava!! How amazing would it be to truly experience that one day. Of course, this dish would be served as a casserole and not as meatballs over polenta. But one day…
I mean, just look at that sauce!!
That polenta! You know this is going to be a hearty and delicious meal. I truly allowed the meatballs to simmer for a long time to get a nice, rich red color that encompassed the meatballs thoroughly and sat up on it’s on on the polenta. I didn’t want it to be runny at all!! And it wasn’t. You know, I think I’m going to have to make these again.
What’s your favorite meatball recipe?
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- pinch of ground cloves
- 1/4 cup minced onion
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- pinch of cloves
- Combine the ground beef with the next six ingredients (tomato paste through minced onion) in a mixing bowl. Roll the mixture into 16 meatballs; about an 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
- Heat a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium high heat. Brown the meatballs 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
- Pour the crushed tomatoes over the meatballs and stir in the cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. Cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce has thickened.
- Serve over creamy polenta, noodles, or rice.