You realized you volunteered and now you are cooking for a crowd. Maybe 10. Or 20. Possibly more. You aren’t sure what to make. Well, this is one of many recipes I would suggest. This recipe in particular is great because you can cook it a day or two before and simply warm it up on the day-of.
I made this recipe for the first time in a year or so and it is the perfect dish to whip up when the weather starts to turn cold and you want a big old bowl of comfort. I have many memories of helping my mom roll meatballs. Back in the day, she used to double, triple, or even quadruple this recipe to cook for a crowd. If you do this, you are in for an epic day of browning meatballs.
Believe me, I have done it many a time.
Seriously. It probably took 2-3 hours just to brown all meatballs.
I still envy the giant pot that she used on days like those.
Until then, this recipe still makes more than enough for you 8-10 friends, depending on how much effort you put into the side dishes. Cooking for a crowd is secretly all about adding hearty side dishes that are simple and require little work — fore example, simple salads.
If you don’t plan to serve this to a crowd, this is a PERFECT meal to freeze in individual packets. I usually put 3-4 meatballs and some sauce (depending on your serving size preference) in a Food Saver bag and should be fine in the freezer for 6 months.
You are in fact cooking for a crowd?
Here are few tips::
- Mix the meatballs in batches or in multiple separate bowls. This will just make it easier for you to ensure the mixture is even throughout.
- Cook the meatballs in batches + prep roll at least half of the meatballs before you start so that you aren’t having to step away while you are cooking and risk forgetting to flip a batch.
- Split the sauce into two pans if you are doubling, and three pots if you are tripling
- Cook for 8 hours. If you split the cooking time, (4 hours on one day and 4 hours on another) then you need to start the timer on the second day when the meatballs are back to simmering.
Meatballs and Red Sauce
- Keep it simple with some spaghetti
- Snag a tube of polenta at the grocery store, or make your own.
- A loaf of crusty bread
- Garlic bread
- Skip the grains. Just serve with a side of salad
- Grated parmesan cheese, to cover the basics
- Red pepper flakes, for some heat
- A dollop of ricotta or a slice of mozzarella [if you are feeling fancy]
QUICK SALAD IDEAS
Mixed Greens, Bell Pepper, Tomato, Goat Cheese, Chopped Basil, Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette
Arugula, Shaved Parmesan, Pine Nuts, Quinoa (totally optional) and a Lemon Vinaigrette
Both of these are great when cooking for a crowd because they require very little chopping or preparation.
A Few of the Tools I Used
- My 6.75QT Le Creuset held this entire recipe with about an inch of space. If you don’t have a pot this big, I would recommend splitting the sauce into two pans.
- Using a cast iron or non-stick pan to brown the meatballs will make your life much easier
- Tongs. My friends, I used to think tongs were just for the barbecue. Why has it taken me this long??? Honestly, this idea came to me after watching so many people use chopsticks to cook when we were in Vietnam. Now, I used tongs for everything. Tossing stir-fry, turning meatballs, roasting vegetables. Maybe I am the only one that is late on this train, but I doubt it.