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Italian Sausage for Meatballs?

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I have a modest amount of ground fresh Italian sausage (sweet or regular, not hot) and a hankering for a little meatballs and red sauce. But I've always used beef for meatballs, and I'm supposing that a sausage-based meatball might come off a bit strong. Any suggestions out there for using Italian sausage as a meatball base without the sausagey-factor being too intrusive?

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  1. I love sausage in meatballs - 50/50 with ground beef is good, but you could go down to 25/75 if you're worried about the flavor being too strong.

    1. I routinely make pasta sauce using homemade Italian sausage. Not balls but chunks. Not understanding why it would be an issue. I never use beef in pasta sauce.

      1. I have found that a sausage-only meatball is not as tender as one that is a mixture of ground chuck and Italian sausage, but if you don't have beef, go ahead with just sausage. Use a milk/bread panade, and an egg, to help with the tenderness. You probably won't need spices and seasoning because that's in the sausage, but do add onion and parmesan cheese to your meat mixture before forming the balls. I would not fry or bake the meatballs before putting them in the sauce. Just get your sauce simmering, lay the meatballs atop it, cover, and leave them alone for 20 minutes. Then use two spoons to turn them over gently - they will be cohesive by that point - and leave the cover off for the rest of the cooking time, so the sauce reduces a bit and the tops of the meatballs develop a bit of crust.

        1. I don't think I'd make a sausage meatball but I regularly add a hot Italian link to my beef meatballs.

          Use what you think your meatballs can support and put the rest in a nice minnestrone or a bean soup,

          1. As I have no ground beef on hand, I think I'll experiment with greygarious's approach. Will report back.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Bada Bing

              Sounds like a really good approach. Buona fortuna! ; >

            2. We *LOVE* sausage meatballs with our pasta... its such a nice change of pace. I've made them straight up sausage (they are a little tougher but not offensive) or mixed with some beef.

              1. Just put your favorite meatball spices, cheese etc, mix and sautee then add to your sauce. Round cooked meat can be pork sausage as well! Just gotta break that beef only meatball mind set.