b'Cozy Home-cooked ComfortWeeknight meatballs and homemade focaccia BY OLIVIA MACK MCCOOLW hat says home like a pot of simmering meat-balls in tomato sauce and homemade bread? If thats not inviting I dont know what is! The combination might sound like a labor of love, but I have shortcuts for both that make these possible even on a weeknight. The biggest time saver is that the meat-balls arent fried, rather they are nestled into the sauce and simmered until cooked. Not only is this less labor intensive, it avoids the dreaded mess of splattered oil. The meatball mixture itself can also be made, and even formed into balls, a whole day ahead. That just leaves the step of making a quick, simple tomato sauce, and simmering the meatballs. If youre feel-ing extra, dot the meatballs with small pieces of fresh mozzarella and pop them under the broiler until the cheese is melted and gooey. Although pasta is the traditional pairing, I would venture to say that nothing is better for soaking up meatballs and sauce than a homemade focaccia. You can absolutely serve this with store bought bread, but this focaccia recipe is designed to be easy, fool proof and weeknight friendly. First, you make a dough from flour, yeast, salt and water. Theres no kneading or special equipment needed; just stir it together with a rubber spatula, drizzle with some olive oil, cover and refrigerate. The refrigerator is where the magic happens. The dough needs at least 10 hours in thesignature dimplesits particularly fun for children to get involved at this point. refrigerator to rise properly, but it also can be left for up to three days, making itBake it for 30 minutes until the bread is golden brown. You will be shocked at flexible and ready for you when youre ready to bake.the gorgeous homemade bread you just made. You can totally do this! The afternoon before you plan to bake, scrape the dough into a well-oiledRecipe developer, cookbook author, food stylist and local mom Olivia Mack Mc-cake pan, cover and let rest on the counter for a few hours until dinner time. TheCool lives in Maplewood. For more of her work and recipes, check out her website fun part is when you get to plunge your fingers into the dough to make thoseoliviamackmccool.com and follow along on Instagram @oliviamackmccool.WEEKNIGHT MEATBALLSServes 4 (makes about 20 meatballs)Meatballs: Sauce & Garnish: 1 pound ground meat (any combo of beef, veal or pork)2 tablespoons olive oilcup plain breadcrumbs2 garlic cloves, mincedcup milkPinch of crushed red peppercup grated parmesan1 (28 ounce) can crushed or pureed tomatoesteaspoon onion powder1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 large garlic clove, grated or minced4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into small pieces (optional,Small bunch of parsley, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons) see last step) 2 large eggsChopped parsley or basil, for serving 1 teaspoon kosher saltGrated parmesan, for servingteaspoon ground black pepper30/ matters magazine / hearth + home 2023'