Ever since my buddy Corey Woodruff's guest post, Andouille Balls Po' Boy, I have had a hankering for a good ball sandwich. Ballwich. I wanted to do a twist on the classic meatball sub... so I took the meat out! How'd you like that twist? These balls are good because cannellini beans are good (one of my top 3 favorite beans!)... they are not a "meat alternative." They are simply yummy balls made of legumes. And seriously, these are good... creamyand moist with rich Italian flavor.
The sandwich hankering also came about because my other buddy, Kelly, posted this "Quick & Easy French Bread" recipe a few weeks ago. As a bread baking scaredy-cat, This looked like the perfect option for me. It was simple, non-intimidating, and pretty successful! Mine spread a bit, maybe because I didn't have a fancy baguette pan, and also because I used a small amount of whole wheat flour in place of some of the AP flour. My loaves, while a bit flat in shape, were tasty and had good fluff, and the crust is perfect for sandwiches... not too chewy. It is so very satisfying to make your own bread, don't you think?
Cannellini Balls with Marinara Sauce
-2 Tablespoons olive oil
-1 large yellow onion, diced
-2 shallots, minced
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1 Tablespoons dried oregano
-2 teaspoons dried basil
-1/2 teaspoon dried sage
-1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
-1 bay leaf
-pinch of fresh-grated nutmeg
-1 large can of whole tomatoes
-3 Tablespoons tomato paste, divided
-1/2 cup red wine
-1 can of cannellini beans
-3/4 cup bread crumbs
-salt and pepper to taste
Cook the onions and shallots in the olive oil over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and all the dried herbs/spices. Cook for a few minutes until fragrant. Remove half of the mixture to a bowl for the bean balls. Add the canned tomatoes, 2 Tablespoons of the tomato paste and the wine to the onion mixture in the pan. Break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon while bringing to a simmer. Let simmer for at least 30 minutes.
Mush the cannellini beans with a potato masher until the look like lumpy mashed potatoes. Add the set-aside onion mixture, 1 Tablespoon of tomato paste, bread crumbs and egg and mix well. Form mixture into balls, about 2 Tablespoons per ball (makes about 24 balls). Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Spritz or brush with olive oil. Bake at 350ºF for about 30 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned. Add the balls to the marinara sauce. Put on a sandwich with some fresh greens or on some spaghetti.
Similar posts from the archives:
Tarragon Cod with Arugula and Beans
Cannellini Beans with Fennel and Bacon
Pasta with Fennel, Salmon and Cannellini Beans
Salsiccia Balls with Peppers and Polenta
Penne with Roasted Tomatoes and cannellini beans
Black Bean Balls with Avocado Buttermilk Sauce
Build a Better Taco Salad
Year of the Balls Round-Up