Classic meatballs

A memorable meatball

Originally appeared in the December 02, 2010 edition of the Southside Times.

The term “comfort food” is frequently repeated around this time of year, it’s sort of a catchall for describing dishes which are both sentimentally soothing and unapologetically hearty.  You know:  Meat-and-potatoes stuff.  And nothing embodies the cozy elements of comfort food better than the classic meatball.  When properly prepared, a simple meatball not only satisfies the most demanding appetites, but—like all comfort foods—holds the potential to produce a brand new batch of memories.  More after the jump:But because of its popularity, there are pervasive schools-of-thought about how to produce a decent meatball; and within those schools there are variations and venerable traditions—permutations within permutations.  Should you use strictly beef?  A combination of beef and pork?  Or all three—beef, veal, and pork?  And that’s just the beginning.  There’s a different debate about whether meatballs are cooked separately or within the sauce.

Today’s recipe calls for an equal-part mixture of beef and pork; and please note the recommended technique of dabbing your fingers with the reserved milk when forming the meatballs, as this helps ensure a savory-silky texture.

So if don’t have a beloved meatball recipe, give this one a shot.  It may prove to be memorable.

Classic meatballs

Serves 6

  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (preferably from French or country-style bread)
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 8 ounces, 15%-fat ground beef
  • 8 ounces ground pork
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped, fresh Italian parsley
  • To taste, kosher salt
  • To taste, freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

1.  Pour 3 cups of your tomato sauce of choice in a wide saucepot, bring to a gentle simmer and set aside.  Combine breadcrumbs and milk in a bowl.  Stir until breadcrumbs have evenly absorbed milk.  Set aside.  Meanwhile, whisk eggs in a bowl, and add in garlic.  Then combine beef and pork in a bowl.  Add 1 cup Parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper.  Add in egg-and-garlic mixture.

2.  Using your hands, squeeze milk from breadcrumbs.  Reserve milk.  Add breadcrumbs to meat mixture.  Again using hands, gently mix meat mixture until ingredients have evenly combine (it’s important to not overmix).  Chill mixture for about thirty minutes.

3.  Moisten hands with some of the reserved milk, and roll meat mixture between palms into golf ball-sized balls, and evenly arrange in saucepot with tomato sauce.  Bring sauce to a simmer, reduce heat and cover, allowing meatballs to cook through (15 to 20 minutes).  Pour meatballs and sauce onto a platter and garnish with Parmesan.  Serve immediately with pasta of choice.

Published in: on December 2, 2010 at 9:22 pm  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Oooh yum! Those meatballs look so good!

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