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Not only Americans like a meatball you know…

I love meatballs. They seem to be associated with Scandinavian cookery these days, but I really do like a good old-fashioned American Italian one. When I travelled to New York for business in the old days, I was always enthralled by the fact that Italian restaurants there in the 1980s would appear to serve spaghetti marinara with everything unless you said you didn’t want it. And would sometimes pop a few meatballs on just for the joy of it.

I say that these are American Italian, rather than Italian as that is where I have eaten them. But of course, they would have originated in the South of Italy and have been taken to the US with the largely Southern Italian migrants.  Mine come from a very old 1970s Supercook recipe book originally, and have, in the way of all family favourites, evolved with age.

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So this is how I make my Meatballs to please the Mob.  This is an offer you can’t refuse…

As is usual with my recipes, quantities are largely for you to decide. You know how hungry you are, and how much seasoning you like.

meat – half and half lean steak mince and pork mince.  I use about 250g of each to make enough meatballs for four.

One onion very finely chopped.

1 slice of bread (a couple of days old for preference) whizzed to crumbs in the food processor.

salt, pepper, herbs – I like fresh parsley, and a sprinkling of oregano.  You can add some lemon zest if you like as well.

A couple of tablespoons of grated parmesan. Or cheddar will work at a pinch.

one egg.

Put all of this in a large bowl and mix with your hands, squishing it through your fingers to make a fairly homogenous mixture.

Using wet hands, take small amounts of the mix, and roll into balls, about the size of a plum, certainly no bigger than a golf ball.  Space these out on a greased baking tray, and bake in a medium oven for 20 mins.

In the meantime, prepare a tomato sauce. I like fresh tomatoes in the summer, but canned chopped ones are fine. Simply simmer them with a finely chopped onion and a chopped clove of garlic until nicely thick. Season with salt, pepper and a little sugar.    When this is thick, and the meatballs are done (which should roughly be about the same time) add the meatballs into the sauce pan and allow the flavours to meld.

Serve over pasta of choice, or with rice, or even mashed potatoes.  Sprinkle with shredded basil or more parmesan, or even a little chili if you fancy.