Italian Sausage Meatballs, Peppers, and Onions
  • ½ cup plain bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 2 pounds ground Italian sausage
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, divided
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Hot cooked grits, to serve
  • Garnish: grated Parmesan cheese, fresh basil
  1. In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs and milk; let stand for 5 minutes. Gently stir in sausage, eggs, cheese, 2 tablespoons basil, 1 teaspoon salt, and black pepper until well combined. Shape mixture into 2-inch balls.
  2. In a 12-inch enamel-coated cast-iron braiser, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add meatballs; cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over, about 8 minutes. Remove meatballs using a slotted spoon, and let drain on paper towels.
  3. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, bell peppers, vinegar, red pepper, remaining ¼ cup basil, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, crushing whole tomatoes with the back of a spoon and stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in meatballs; cook, stirring occasionally, until meatballs are cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve with grits. Garnish with cheese and basil, if desired.
These slightly spicy meatballs are also great served with polenta, pasta, couscous, or rice.
Recipe by Southern Cast Iron at