Meatballs with Mushrooms

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Sundays are dubbed "Italian night" in my kitchen, and I've been pushing myself to expand my cooking expertise beyond seafood. Last night, I created a flavorful, light-as-air meatball that stands alone so beautifully, pasta is not even required. The woodsy baby bella mushrooms add another note of dark, rich hues without adding extra carbs. Next time, I'll add slivers of fresh garlic to the tomato sauce before plating on my Paper & Clay piece. Enjoy your Monday (with meatballs, perhaps)!

Makes 2 servings

1/2 pound ground lean beef 1 egg 1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs 1/8 cup grated parmesan 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley, plus extra for garnish Salt and pepper 1 tablespoon canola oil 1 tablespoon butter 8 baby bella mushrooms, sliced 1/4 cup tomato sauce

1. In a small bowl, place meat, egg, bread crumbs, parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper. Use your hands to combine ingredients. Create six 2-inch diameter meatballs.

2. In a small cast-iron skillet, heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Add meatballs, one by one, and sear for 2-3 minutes until bottoms are gold brown. Flip and repeat. Turn down heat to medium and continue to sear until cooked-through, approximately 10 minutes. Keep warm on low heat.

3. Meanwhile, heat butter in a small saucepan on medium heat. Add mushrooms and caramelize for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Once mushrooms are cooked, divide onto two dinner plates. Return saucepan to stove and add tomato sauce, heating on medium heat until hot. Add three meatballs to each plate. Top with tomato sauce, parmesan cheese, and parsley. Serve immediately.