Meatballs with Easy Pesto Gravy

Quite possibly, one of the best meatball/gravy concoctions ever. The meatballs are perfectly seasoned and roasted until browned, caramelized and juicy, and then they’re bathed in a pesto-spiked, satiny gravy. The sauce is deliciously complex, but made with just 4 ingredients! You’ll be licking the plate clean with this one.

These meatballs are exquisite! I seasoned them with a light-but-intentional blend of ingredients that compliment the pesto in the gravy (garlic, parmesan and a little onion for good measure). That’s it – no egg, no bread crumbs. Those fillers aren’t needed because the parmesan cheese keeps the meatballs moist (while adding tremendous flavor).

And there’s just enough pesto in the gravy to add vigor, but not so much that it overpowers the sauce. The balance of pesto to traditional gravy ingredients is spot on.

I chose to use ground beef this time, but you could certainly use ground turkey or ground chicken if poultry is preferred!

I also chose to serve my meatballs and gravy over wild rice, which was a GREAT decision! Other terrific options would be regular rice, pasta, couscous, quinoa, or mashed potatoes. I suggest some sort of culinary “mop”; otherwise you’ll be lapping up the gravy with a spoon.

Meatballs with Easy Pesto Gravy

1 pound lean ground beef
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
3 tablespoons minced onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
Salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon basil pesto of choice
1 tablespoon tomato paste or ketchup
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Cooked rice, pasta, couscous, or quinoa for serving
Chopped green onions for serving, optional

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
In a large bowl, combine the beef, parmesan cheese, onion, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Mix well and shape the mixture into 12 meatballs. Transfer the meatballs to the prepared pan and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until the meatballs are browned and cooked through.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When the butter is bubbly, whisk in the flour until smooth. Whisk in the broth, pesto, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, until the gravy thickens. Season the gravy with salt and pepper. Add the meatballs to the gravy and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes to heat through.
Spoon the meatballs and gravy over rice or pasta (if using) and top with grated parmesan cheese and green onions (if using).
Serves 4

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