Tender Pork Meatballs in Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Butter Sauce (Paleo)

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Sep 15, 2015 at 5:41pm

Tender Pork Meatballs in Tomato Butter Sauce

Hi! How was your summer? Goodness it flew by, like they all do, and yet we are all surprised to see the first yellow leaves scattered on the ground. I love that about Minnesotans – we are bonded by our collective denial and climatic optimism. WINTER MIGHT NOT COME THIS YEAR.


I haven’t been posting here as much as I’d like because I’ve spent quite a bit of time teaching, doing cooking demos, coaching individuals on cooking real food at home, and trying to spend time with my son Nathan before school started. Which it has. He’s back at Marquette University and I miss him so.

Madison RangeDadBefore he left, we had a wonderful trip to visit my dad and stepmom in Montana, at their home south of Bozeman. We cooked and hiked and slept and celebrated Dad’s birthday and caught up with so many lovely people. It went by too quickly and then we were off for Milwaukee and whoosh, summer had flown by, just like that. Just like it always does.

Minnesota Cooksground cherry chutneyThe day after I got back I did a blast of a cooking demo at the Minnesota State Fair for Minnesota Cooks day. I made and shared my friend Molly Herrmann’s Ground Cherry Chutney (recipe in Twin Cities Chef’s Table) and it was a hit! Ground cherries are still at the farmers markets (and I saw some at The Wedge Co-op just yesterday) so make sure to grab them all and make a big batch of chutney to can or freeze. Your February self will be so glad! It’s marvelous served with goat (or other soft) cheese for an appetizer, or served traditionally as a condiment for curries, or spooned alongside pork roast for sweet/savory/spicy dipping. Delicious stuff.

And so, now things are settling down a bit and I’m hard at work on Fresh Tart – hi! At the moment, I’m heading into fall thinking about routine and habits. As a natural born procrastinator who attempts constantly to conquer the beast, I’m always reading about and experimenting with ways to trick myself past the bane of every procrastinating perfectionists existence – paralysis. Oh I’m very good at busily working on projects that live safely in my comfort zone…but we all know that the challenging, scary projects are where the juicy stuff is, where the fun and flow and growth and creativity and collaboration all converge and make work seem lovely and life feel grand. Don’t you agree that fall is the perfect time to think about scary, juicy projects?

miracle morningSo back to routine. Just to be clear, I don’t really think I can trick myself into not procrastinating. However, I believe wholeheartedly in the power of a consistent morning routine to move myself out of my comfort zone and into new collaborations, relationships, and creative kablams. For me, it’s all about gathering my thoughts and pointing them like a laser toward productivity and ACTION. A gentle but firm self ass-kicking, of sorts.

I’ve been experimenting with The Miracle Morning routine (great book, highly recommend), which advocates a one-hour morning routine incorporating movement, reflection, reading, journaling, affirmations, and visualization. Why? Ha. Check out this account of what making time for a simple routine like this can bring in clarity and productivity. I’ve been doing a few of these things – journaling, meditation, reading, exercise – but I’ve never attempted visualization and affirmations. So far I’m really enjoying, I’ll report back with raves about my massive productivity after I have a few more weeks under my belt. If you have a rock solid morning routine, I want to hear about it!

Tender Pork Meatballs in Tomato Butter SauceIn the interim, I leave you with this recipe for Tender Pork Meatballs in Tomato Butter Sauce. They are DREAMY served on top of lightly sauteed greens – seriously, better than pasta. Seriously!

If you still have garden tomatoes, make this sauce and freeze or can some of it, just like the chutney. It’s a simple, utterly amazing sauce, a Marcella Hazan classic. It’s hard to imagine how delicious it is just by glancing at the ingredients but trust me – it’s a winner. The butter is the KEY ingredient so if you make substitutions, I’m sure the sauce will be nice, but it won’t perhaps stand out from other tomato sauces. FYI.

The fact that I’ve made and eaten tomato sauce means I’ve been experimenting with eating nightshade vegetables. To be honest, I don’t feel amazing when I eat them. My joints ache the next day, although I don’t experience hives on my face or a bloated out belly, so there’s that. Hey! It means I eat them occasionally but not daily and that seems to work just fine.

Tender Pork Meatballs in Tomato Butter SauceOh, I make double batches of these meatballs and freeze them. They’re terrific reheated and make for fast meals, with or without sauce. I love to float them in Healing Green Broth, or enjoy them alongside a big salad with tahini dressing.

Enjoy these last hot steamy days! I’ll be back soon(er). xoxo Stephanie

Tender Pork Meatballs in Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Butter Sauce

Serves 4

For the meatballs:

1 pound ground pork
1 egg
2 tablespoons arrowroot or tapioca starch
2 tablespoons powdered collagen or gelatin (optional)
2 tablespoons grated onion
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
several grinds black pepper

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven 375 degrees F.

Combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl and using a spoon or small ice cream scoop, form 1-inch meatballs, placing them on the baking sheet as you go. Leave at least an inch of space between meatballs.

Bake meatballs for 20 minutes or until just cooked through. Add to finished tomato sauce (recipe below) before serving, or cool to room temperature, wrap, and freeze.

For the tomato sauce:

2 pounds (28 ounces) whole or chopped tomatoes in their juices (I use Muir Glen fire roasted; if you use fresh, peel the tomatoes)
5 tablespoons butter
1 onion, peeled and halved
sea salt

If using whole tomatoes, coarsely chop them, reserving juices. Place tomatoes, butter, and onion halves in a large saucepan. Add a couple of generous pinches of salt. Set over medium heat and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes or until all liquid is evaporated and butter separates from the tomatoes a bit. Remove and discard onion pieces (or eat them, if you like). Season to taste with salt.

To serve, add meatballs to hot tomato sauce and spoon over sauteed kale, Swiss chard, or zucchini noodles. (Meatballs can be frozen in the sauce.)

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