My trip to Italy is fast approaching. I wanted to do a couple of posts before I leave and the dishes had to be simple.
Meat-eaters love meatballs. These are from Naples and may be a bit different than what you’re used to eating here in the States. My Mom made them this way once in a while.
Usually for meatballs I use a combination of beef, pork and veal ground together but this time I’m only using beef. The addition of raisins and toasted pine nuts adds flavor dimension and texture to the meatballs.
The spicy meatballs are fork-tender. The sweetness of the raisins in tempered by the basil tomato sauce. The soft crunch of the toasted pine nuts is a welcome surprise. Simply delicious.
You can serve the meatballs with a vegetable or salad and with or without tomato sauce. I like them both ways. Don’t get too fancy though, the meatballs should be the star of your light lunch or dinner.
Use the tomato sauce to dress pasta or save it to use another time.
Keep an eye out for my 2 new video episodes that we shot in North Beach before I headed to Italy. I’ll spend 2 days shooting video in Rome. Hopefully, we’ll get a couple of new episodes of my shopping and cooking from my apartment kitchen in the heart of Roma.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 cups cubed dried crustless bread
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ cup grated pecorino cheese
- 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh Italian flat parsley
- ⅓ cup raisins
- ⅓ cup toasted pine nuts
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil for frying (or use your favorite frying oil)
- Tomato Sauce (Optional)
- 1 28-ounce can imported San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large sprig of fresh basil
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Soak the bread in water.
- Add all of the ingredients (except the oil) into a mixing bowl.
- Squeeze the bread to get rid of the water then break it up and add it to the bowl.
- Blend the mix well with your hands (or a fork). (I squish it in my hands until the mixture is very well blended.)
- Take about a ⅓ cup of the mixture in your hands and roll it into a ball.
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
- When the oil ripples, add the meatballs.
- Brown the meatballs well. You want to develop a dark, firm crust all over, about 10 minutes total.
- Serve immediately with your favorite salad or vegetables.
- Tomato Sauce (Optional)
- Put the olive oil and garlic in a pot over medium-high heat.
- When the garlic starts to brown add the tomatoes.
- Add the basil.
- When the tomato sauce rapidly simmers reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Add the meatballs and let them warm in the sauce for about 10 minutes.
- Serve the meatballs immediately topped with a bit more of the tomato sauce.
- Makes about 12 meatballs.
- (You can use the tomato sauce for pasta or save it for another use.)
If you want to serve the meatballs with tomato sauce, here’s a simple recipe that will be ready in about 30 minutes.