1 can tomato sauce or puree (28 ounces)
1 quart chicken stock
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus some for liberal drizzling
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced or grated, divided
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, divided
A handful of fresh basil leaves, torn or thinly sliced
1/3 cup breadcrumbs (eyeball it)
1/4 cup milk
3/4 pound ground beef, pork and veal mix
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley (a small handful)
Pre-heat the oven to 400˚F.
Place the tomato sauce and stock in medium saucepot and heat over low heat. Keep warm.
Place a medium size pot with rounded sides over medium-high heat with two turns of the pan EVOO. Add onion and 2 cloves of garlic and sauté a couple of minutes to soften. Add the rice and turn to coat. Toast for about 1 minute, then add the tomato paste and stir a minute more. Stir in the wine and cook until the liquid evaporates. Begin adding a couple of ladles of the tomato-stock mixture at a time. Each time you add the liquid, stir the risotto vigorously to develop the starches. The rice will cook for 18 minutes total. (If the rice is al dente and creamy, yet you still have a ladle or two of liquid left, do not feel forced to use it). In the last minute or so of cooking time, stir in the butter until it melts, then add 1/2 cup cheese, a couple of handfuls. Turn off the heat and stir in the basil.
Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, moisten the breadcrumbs with milk. Add the egg, meat, parsley, the remaining 1/4 cup cheese, salt and pepper to the bowl and mix to combine. Score the meat into four sections and form eight small balls from each section, the size of marbles. Place the balls on a baking sheet and coat them with a liberal drizzle of EVOO. Bake for 5 minutes until cooked through and golden.
Serve the risotto in shallow bowls topped with eight mini meatballs per serving.