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KEFTEDAKIA (GREEK MEATBALLS) WITH TOMATO SAUCE

This is my recipe, adapted from about four different recipes. Since Trainman doesn't care much for lamb, I made these with extra lean ground beef. Everything here was updated 7/15/09. Enjoy!
Serves 4

MEATBALLS:
1 pound extra lean ground beef
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried mint flakes
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg
GREEK TOMATO SAUCE:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped garlic (about 4-5 cloves)
Pinch Aleppo pepper -- optional
Kosher salt and coarse ground pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano 1 can whole San Marzano tomatoes (28 oz.) -- undrained
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 - 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese
Hot cooked pasta
Chopped fresh organo for garnish -- optional

MEATBALLS: In a medium bowl, combine all meatball ingredients and mix well (preferably using your hands). Cover the dish and chill until ready to use.

GREEK TOMATO SAUCE: In a large saucepan, heat oil and saute onion and garlic, sprinkled with a little salt and pepper until very tender but not browned. Add Aleppo pepper if using and oregano and mix well. Add tomatoes and crush whole tomatoes with your hands breaking up large chunks. Add lemon juice and cinnamon, mix well and bring to a simmer over low heat. Partially cover and simmer about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Taste and adjust seasoning before using.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a medium baking sheet with foil. Shape the meat mixture into 8 balls, place on the baking sheet and flatten slightly with your fingers. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, spoon some of the sauce over the meatballs and return to the oven to bake about 15 minutes or until meat is fully cooked.

TO SERVE: Pile cooked pasta on one side of serving plates. Scoop two meatballs with the sauce per serving onto serving plates. Sprinkle with crumbled Feta. Garnish with chopped fresh organo if available.


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