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Party-Perfect Meatballs

Photo: Brie Passano; Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham
Hands-on time 35 mins
Total time 50 mins
Yield

Makes about 20 appetizer servings

To make ahead, prepare meatballs through Step 2, and freeze in zip-top plastic freezer bags for up to 1 month. To reheat from frozen, pick up with Step 3 and warm the meatballs in the sauce over low heat. For serving, keep them warm in your slow cooker, in a Dutch oven over low heat, or in a fondue pot.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 1/2 small red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound mild Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1/3 cup hot pepper jelly

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 450°. Pulse first 5 ingredients in a food processor 8 to 10 times or until chopped. Stir together panko, next 6 ingredients, and olive mixture in a large bowl until well combined. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls, and place 1 inch apart on aluminum foil-lined jelly-roll pans.

  2. Bake at 450° for 12 minutes. Cool 5 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, heat a large saucepan over medium heat 2 minutes. Add tomato paste to dry pan, and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes or until paste begins to brown and coat bottom of pan. Increase heat to high, and add beef broth, stirring to loosen bits of tomato paste from bottom of pan. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in hot pepper jelly until combined. Reduce heat to low. Add cooked meatballs, and serve warm.

  4. Note: Sauce may be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 3 days.