this recipe is for meatless meatballs, which are prepared in much the same way as meatballs, just with different ingredients. Bread crumbs, eggs, cheese, and herbs are combined and rolled into balls, which are then browned and simmered in a tomato sauce. This idea can be traced, not surprisingly, to Italy, were similar recipes are made as appetizers.Source unknown
for the bread balls: whisk the water, egg, garlic, parsley, basil, and pepper together in a large bowl. Add the bread and cheese and mix with your hands until well combined. With wet hands, form the mixture into 1 1/2 inch bread balls. You should have about 30 bread balls.
Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half of the bread balls and cook until well browned on the first side, two to four minutes. Do not move the bread balls until they are well browned on the first side. Continue to cook until they are well browned on all sides, about five minutes longer, turning as needed. Transfer the bread balls to a bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the pot and return it to medium heat until the oil is shimmering. Repeat with remaining bread balls.
For the sauce: pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the oil from the pot and return to medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoons salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, sugar, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook until the tomato paste begins to Brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the water, tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for one hour.
Return the bread balls to the pot, cover and continue to simmer until the sauce is thickened slightly and the bread balls are tender, about 30 minutes longer. Off the heat, stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, sprinkling each portion with Parmesan and basil.