I’ve never been a meatball-making expert – maybe it’s because I don’t have an Italian grandmother. (Grandma is Alsatian, but she makes a mean lasagna.) I could never quite master the art of browning meatballs evenly on all sides. Frying them yielded meatballs which were slightly charred on one side because I couldn’t get all of them in the skillet turned in time. Since they aren’t constantly turned, baking them turned out flat-sided meatballs.
Then I discovered meatballs in the slow cooker! They turn out beautifully round. And thanks to the long, low, slow cook in marinara sauce, you’ve never had a more intensely flavored meatball atop your pasta – which makes up for a slightly spongy texture. I don’t brown them ahead of time because that would totally defeat the purpose of avoiding that whole frustrating step.
Spaghetti and meatballs are classic comfort food, but I had a package of buckwheat noodles that had been sitting in my pantry far too long. So I created this recipe for Asian-style meatballs to adorn the deliciously nutty buckwheat noodles. The garlic-studded meatballs are slow-cooked in a ginger beef broth; and the accompanying flavor-infused cabbage will have you asking for extra pieces of cabbage – as my kids did.