Updated: Oct 23, 2020
These “meatballs” use mushrooms oats and breadcrumbs, instead of meat, with a combination of onions, garlic and oregano. Creating a satisfying texture and robust flavor, these are slightly more delicate than regular meatballs, so use a light touch when shaping them, and make sure the mixture is very cold.
Serve them over spaghetti with THE best homemade marinara sauce, fresh basil and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. You can also serve them on their own, covered in marinara sauce, or stuff them into hero rolls for sandwiches.
1 28 oz. can whole San Marzano tomatoes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
7 garlic cloves, peeled and slivered
small dried whole chili, or pinch crushed pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 page fresh basil sprig, or 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, more to taste
3 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion (chopped)
20 oz mushrooms, finely chopped
1 cup quick cook oats
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup chopped parsley
4 garlic cloves (minced)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Pour tomatoes into a larger bowl with your hands. Pour 1 cup of water into can and slosh it around to get tomato juices. Reserve.
In a large skillet (do not use a deep pot) over a medium heat, heat the oil. When it is hot, add onion.
As soon as onion is sizzling (do not let it brown), add garlic, then add the tomatoes, then the reserved tomato water. As whole chili or red pepper flakes, oregano (if using) and salt. Stir.
Place basil sprig, including stem, on the surface (like a flower). Let it wilt, then submerge in sauce. Simmer sauce until thickened and oil on surface is deep orange, about 15 minutes. (If using oregano, taste sauce after 10 minutes of simmering, adding more salt and oregano as needed.) Discard basil and chili (if using).
In a large skillet, saute the onion in olive oil on medium-low heat for about 7 minutes. Add mushrooms, increase the heat to medium-high and cook for 10-15 minutes. You'll need to wait until the water evaporates and then keep cooking the mushrooms until they brown nicely. Add garlic, stir, and transfer the mushrooms into the mixing bowl. Let them cool down.
Add the rest of the ingredients excluding marinara to the mixture. Stir the mixture nicely and cover it with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, possibly overnight for the flavors (and texture!) to develop.
When ready to cook, using tablespoon as a measure, form small balls from the mixture. Fry the balls in a small amount of vegetable oil until they turn brown or bake them in a preheated oven at 400F for 15 minutes.
Add marinara sauce to the medium saucepan. Place the meatballs on top and cook the meatballs in the sauce on a low heat for about 15 more minutes.
Garnish the grated Parmesan or fresh parsley.