&Amp;Quot;Southern&Amp;Quot; Italian Meat Balls? Don't Know For Sure But They Sure Are Good! (Recipe - Brando Cucina Blog at Allrecipes.com - 286628

Brando Cucina

"Southern" Italian Meat Balls? Don't know for sure but they sure are good! (Recipe 
Oct. 18, 2012 10:11 am 
Updated: Oct. 19, 2012 11:51 am
What makes this recipe southern Italian? Well not much other than south of Naples and Sicily meatballs (polpette) tend to be made from mostly or all pork and with Pecorino rather than Parmigiano-Reggiano. This recipe was one of those, "Hmmm.. what am I going to do with this meat in the fridge" kind of things. So I experimented and the results I have to say are very good. A real keeper for me and I'll be making it again.

The Meatballs:

I had about a pound of pork roast, center cut and little over a pound of sirloin tip. I ground the pork along with about 6 ounces of the sirloin. I also had like 4 slices of prosciutto in the fridge so that went into the grinder too. Next, a few onion wedges into the grinder which helps clear the meat out. All of this into a bowl along with a medium sweet onion chopped very fine. To get a fine dice, peel and cut the onion in half and then thinly slice crosswise into half rings and chop. Remove the leaves from about 10 sprigs of Italian parsley, discarding the stems. Peel two hefty cloves of garlic then squash the garlic with the flat of your chef's knife to make a paste. Cover the garlic mash with the parsley leaves and finely chop, put the mix into the bowl. Warm up 1/2 cup of milk in the microwave and soak about another 1/2 cup or so of the white crumb from last night's Italian bread (no crust) in the milk until soggy, add to the bowl along with a cup of your homemade bread crumbs. Ok so far? Grate up 3 ounces of Pecorino, I use Pecorino Fulvi mostly which is still made near Rome as opposed to "Romano" which is from Sardinia (crazy Italians, eh?). Season with salt and pepper. Lastly add two jumbo eggs (beaten) to the bowl and mix with your hands until the ingredients come together being careful not to overmix.

Now we need to shape into balls with our hands. The quantity listed should give you about 20 medium sized meatballs about the size of a lemon or if you want to make them smaller the southern Italian way, you'll get 30 golf ball sized polpette. Put some flour on a plate and dust each meatball with the flour, lightly tossing the meatballs in your hands to remove the excess. Now heat up 4 TBSPs of olive oil and brown the meatballs on all sides. I put 10 of the meatballs into the freezer for another day and move the remaining 10 onto the next step, the sauce!

The Sauce:

All-righty then. Good meatballs deserve good sauce, right? For this quantity you'll need 2-3 pounds of fresh tomatoes or 1 1/2 cans of imported tomatoes. I use Strianese whole peeled tomatoes from San Marzano. For this recipe I used 1 28oz can plus another 14oz can.

Prepare the mise-en-place: scrape or very finely chop one carrot and one large celery stalk. Clean a medium size leek very well. Start by cutting off the bottom root and green top, then cut the leek in half length-wise and wash the top end under running water pulling apart the ends to make sure you've removed all dirt. You can also use quite a bit of the top green by removing the tougher outer leaves and again, pulling apart the leaves under water to make sure that no trace of dirt remains. Save only the inner tender parts from the top. Chop the leek cross wise into 1/4" strips. Chop a medium sized red onion. If you don't have leeks you can chop up another half onion or so. Remove the leaves from about 10 sprigs of Italian parsley and chop fine. Chop up one large garlic clove. For the meat I ground up the 6 ounces of sirloin that I had left over from above plus the meat (casing removed) from one mild Italian sausage (no fennel). You will also need 1-2 cups of beef or chicken broth or stock.

In a medium but heavy saucepan, an enameled Le Cruset is wonderful for this; heat up 1/4 cup of olive oil and 1/2 stick of unsalted butter. Add the chopped onion and saute until the onion is soft (about 5-7 minutes). Add the carrot, celery and parsley and saute 5 more minutes. Now add the leeks and garlic and give it another 10 minutes or so. At this point, add the ground sirloin and the meat from the sausage and saute 10 minutes more, stirring from time to time with a wooden spoon until the liquid is evaporated and the meat has been browned. Add the tomatoes and season with only a little salt (or no salt) and some pepper. If you want you can add a pinch of peperoncino or red pepper flakes. I use Peperoncino di Campania. Add a cup of the broth, bring to a boil then reduce the heat, cover the pot and simmer for about an hour. Notice you haven't put the meatballs in yet. After some time, take your wooden spoon and crush down the tomatoes until all the large pieces have been broken up. Alternatively you could use a few pulses from an immersion blender to quickly break up the tomatoes. During this time you may have to add more stock if the sauce is getting too thick. Now put the meatballs in the pot, cover and simmer another hour, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Remove the lid and reduce the sauce at a low simmer until you have the consistency you want. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.

The Ingredients:

For the Meatballs:
  • Grind together:
    • 1 pound pork shoulder or roast
    • 6 ounces sirloin
    • 2 ounces prosciutto
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 10 sprigs of Italian Parsley leaves only
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup warm milk and 1/2 cup bread (no crust) combined
  • 1 cup dried breadcrumbs
  • 3 ounces Pecorino grated (Pecorino Fulvi preferred)
  • 2 large eggs
  • Some flour for dusting
  • 4 TBSPs olive oil for frying

For the Sauce:

  • 6 ounces ground sirloin
  • 1 mild Italian sausage (no fennel)
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 large celery stalk
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 medium leek
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 large, 1 small can imported Italian San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1-2 cups beef or chicken broth (or stock)
  • salt, pepper, pinch of peperoncino flakes (or red pepper)
Oct. 19, 2012 11:51 am
Those San Marzano tomatoes are the best for sauce.Your recipe brings me back to my younger days before i was married,my mom made these once a week,i still make them,not quite the same but pretty darn close.They are so good.Thanks for this post.
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