Colossal Rice and Beef Meatballs
- 1 ½ cups (375 mL) long grain U.S. brown rice
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup (125 mL) grated Parmesan cheese (approx.)
- ½ cup (125 mL) finely chopped fresh basil, divided (approx.)
- 1 onion, grated
- 3 cloves garlic, grated
- 2 tsp (10 mL) Worcestershire sauce
- 1 ¼ tsp (6 mL) each salt and pepper, divided
- 2 lb (1 kg) lean ground beef
- 28 oz (796 mL) canned whole tomatoes (San Marsano-style preferred)
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
- Prepare rice according to package directions. Spread out on a plate until cool enough to handle.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir in Parmesan, ¼ cup (50 mL) of the basil, onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and 1 tsp (5 mL) each salt and pepper. Crumble in beef. Add rice and gently mix until well combined. Form into 16 large meatballs. Arrange meatballs in two 9 x 13-inch (3 L) baking dishes.
- Combine tomatoes, remaining basil, olive oil and remaining ¼ tsp (1 mL) salt and pepper in a blender; pulse until smooth. Pour sauce over meatballs. Cover dishes with foil. (Can be prepared up to this point and frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw in refrigerator overnight. Add 10 minutes to bake time.)
- Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes or until meatballs are cooked and sauce is thickened slightly. Sprinkle with additional fresh basil.
- Serve meatballs with additional Parmesan cheese (optional).
- San Marsano tomatoes are slightly more expensive than regular canned tomatoes, but because they are packed in purée, will make a richer sauce without having to add other ingredients.
- If making ahead to freeze, use foil lasagna pans.
- For a cheesy topping, sprinkle meatballs with shredded mozzarella cheese during the last 5 minutes of baking.