Cheesy Baked Meatballs

Meatballs:

1 lb. ground beef

1 extra-large egg

1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs

1 Tbl. minced onion

1 tsp. onion salt

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper

½ tsp. Beef or Montreal Steak Seasoning

1 heaping Tbsp. ketchup

 

16 oz. jar of your favorite pasta sauce

(I use Paul Newman’s Sockarooni)

 

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

 

Sauce:

2 cups whole milk

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

 

Set the oven to 350ºF.

 

Crack the egg into a large mixing bowl and whisk until blended. Add the meat, breaking it apart as you add it to the bowl. Add the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the tomato sauce and the mozzarella cheese. Mix to combine everything well, using your fingertips. Don't compact the meat, and don't over mix.

 

Scoop out the meat into approximately 15 balls (I used a small ice cream scoop.) and roll the balls into nice rounds with your hands.

 

Place the meatballs on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

 

After you put the meatballs in the oven, pour the sauce into a 1-1/2 quart casserole dish and place in the oven along with the meatballs for the last 10 minutes of cooking, to heat up the sauce.

 

While meatballs are baking, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until roux is golden, smooth, and paste-like, 5-7 minutes.

 

While continuing to whisk, stir in whole milk. Bring mixture to a boil and cook for 10 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in salt and nutmeg.

 

Remove both pans from the oven and transfer the meatballs to the skillet, nestling them into the sauce. Bake 15 minutes. Top with bechamel. Return the skillet to the oven and cook for another 15 minutes, if you made your meatballs smaller or larger, the cooking time may vary.

 

Remove the skillet again and top with the cheese. Return to the oven to melt the cheese, 2-3 minutes.

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