Meatballs- Italian version

Dec 16th

In taking my married name I felt as if I shed a bit of my Italian heritage (DiLullo moved to the middle name spot). However, I take Mario Batali to heart when he says “There are two types of people in the world. Italians and people who want to be Italian”.

I grew up telling the school nurse I had “agita”, ate pastina every Saturday afternoon, and celebrated the 7 fish dinner at Christmas. Italians aren’t great at recipes, as I realized again just yesterday.

My Italian friend Val and I made 96 meatballs. Yes, 96 good-sized meatballs (Italians also make way too much food). At one point we called her VERY Italian mom for a measurement question, and she basically said “Eh, if it’s too dry, add more water, or egg, whatever”. Hmm. We did our best to capture the recipe in a reproducible way, though if you feel like you’d like to add something on your own, GO for it. That’s how to cook the Italian way!

This recipe may seem a bit different since the ingredients are blended together before being mixed with the meat. If you don’t like chunks of onion and parsley in your meatballs, these are for you. They look uniform and boring but the flavor is ALL there, just in VERY small particles.

Now, the way to finish the meatballs is IN your tomato sauce. You can buy jarred sauce if you want, or easily follow a recipe that looks something like this :

Saute 2-3 cloves minced garlic in 2-3 tbsp. olive oil. Add about 1 c. finely chopped onion along with a big pinch of salt and a pinch of oregano, basil, crushed red pepper, sugar and thyme. Saute onions till soft, then add about 3 30 oz. cans of Tutteroso crushed tomatoes. Stir, bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for about 1 hour.


Meatballs- Home Version

Makes 30 meatballs

1 lb pork

1 lb beef (85/15 percent fat)

3 eggs

1/2 c. plain breadcrumbs

1/4 c. Parmesan cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano if you have it)

1/2 c. chopped onion

1/4 c. loosely packed fresh parsley leaves

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 c. water

1 tsp. pepper

2 tsp. salt

1. Put beef and pork in a large bowl.

2. In a blender (or food processor, or even Magic Bullet), process eggs, breadcrumbs, cheese, onions, parsley, garlic, and water until smooth.

3. Pour mixture over meat and mix gently with your hands until combined.

4. Add salt and pepper and mix again.

5. Form meat into 3 in. balls with water-moistened hands. Set on baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

6. At this point, you can pan-fry or bake in the oven. To pan fry, bring a large skillet to medium heat. Mist with cooking spray or 1 tbsp. olive oil. Set balls in pan, spacing about 1-2 inches apart. Turn when the bottom has turned golden. Brown on all sides, but don’t worry about cooking them through.

7. To bake meatballs, make sure balls are spaced about 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheet, and bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes.

8. Meatballs should NOT be cooked all the way through, just browned. Add meatballs to simmering sauce and simmer for at least 1/2 hour but longer if you have the time.

9. If not serving immediately, cool pot to just warm and place in fridge.

If you want to freeze these,  you can do it from raw or cooked. I cooked most of the meatballs but I placed about twenty in the fridge raw, still on the parchment lined cookie sheet. Once frozen, I put them in a ziplock bag. They will keep for up to 3 months. If you wanted to cook them then freeze, I’d recommend cooking them all the way through.

Meatballs are a general favorite, can be made ahead and in bulk, and are pretty inexpensive. A Christmas Eve dinner of meatball subs with sharp provolone cheese and long hots would be AMAZING and super easy to make ahead.

Meatballs- Home Version

Makes 30 meatballs

1 lb pork

1 lb beef (85/15 percent fat)

3 eggs

1/2 c. plain breadcrumbs

1/4 c. Parmesan cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano if you have it)

1/2 c. chopped onion

1/4 c. loosely packed fresh parsley leaves

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 c. water

1 tsp. pepper

2 tsp. salt

1. Put beef and pork in a large bowl.

2. In a blender (or food processor, or even Magic Bullet), process eggs, breadcrumbs, cheese, onions, parsley, garlic, and water until smooth.

3. Pour mixture over meat and mix gently with your hands until combined.

4. Add salt and pepper and mix again.

5. Form meat into 3 in. balls with water-moistened hands. Set on baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

6. At this point, you can pan-fry or bake in the oven. To pan fry, bring a large skillet to medium high heat. Mist with cooking spray or 1 tbsp. olive oil. Set balls in pan, spacing about 1-2 inches apart. Turn when the bottom has turned golden. Brown on all sides, but don’t worry about cooking them through.

7. To bake meatballs, make sure balls are spaced about 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheet, and bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes.

8. Meatballs should NOT be cooked all the way through, just browned. Add meatballs to simmering sauce and simmer for at least 1/2 hour but longer if you have the time.

9. If not serving immediately, cool pot to just warm and place in fridge.

If you want to freeze these,  you can do it from raw or cooked. I cooked most of the meatballs but I placed about twenty in the fridge raw, still on the parchment lined cookie sheet. Once frozen, I put them in a ziplock bag. They will keep for up to 3 months. If you wanted to cook them then freeze, I’d recommend cooking them all the way through.

Meatballs are a general favorite, can be made ahead and in bulk, and are pretty inexpensive. A Christmas Eve dinner of meatball subs with sharp provolone cheese and long hots would be AMAZING and super easy to make ahead.

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