Tuesday, April 5, 2011

How To Make A Meatball; 100-Year-Old Recipe Stands the Test of Time

My meatballs made from the recipe below!!

A couple of years ago, we heard through the family grapevine, that my husband's cousin and daughter were filmed for a show called "Mom's Cooking' on My Lifetime TV.  Nella (his cousin) was going to show her daughter, Dina, how to make some family specialities including Grandma's Meatballs. I like to cook but a good meatball was not in my recipe portfolio.

Dina, the daughter, was very accomplished in every field it seemed except cooking, and the pretense of the show was to surprise her mother with the host of "Mom's Cooking" and get mom to share some family secrets in the kitchen arena. I was hooked!

The show was in three parts and the recipes would include the meatballs. red sauce (or gravy), stuffed mushrooms and struffoli. I've included the links below and hope you can get a chance to watch them. The recipes are revealed on the show but I will include the meatball and gravy recipe here since they have now become staples of our family and work well every time much to my husband's delight.

Like most everything else, there are probably a million meatball recipes each distinctive to the region of Italy from whence parents, grandparents or great-grandparents came. This recipe is no doubt Neapolitan in origin where my husband's family (on his mother's side) was from. Neapolitan cuisine it seems has ancient historical roots that date back to the Greco-Roman period and is emblematic of typical Italian cooking. Pizza was born in Naples and many other dishes like lasagna with ricotta cheese, steak alla pizzaiola, and braciole and a variety of desserts like sfogliatelle and struffoli got their start in this region. I didn't see meatballs on any of the lists but no matter. If you are meatball challenged like I was, these delicious recipes should do the trick.

100-Year-Old Meatballs
(Yields 17 meatballs)

1 pound sirloin chop meat
4 eggs
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
Pinch of salt
1 cup plain bread crumbs
2 tablespoons Locatelli romano cheese

  • Place chop meat in bowl. Make a well in center. Add eggs, some parsley, chopped garlic, salt, and bread crumbs, and mix together.
  • Roll meat into rounded balls. One pound of meat should yield 17 meatballs.
  • Cover bottom of frying pan with corn (I use canola)  oil, turn to Medium-High, fry for about three minutes until browned.
  • Add fried meatballs to gravy, simmer for four hours.

Approx. 8 servings

3 garlic cloves
3 cans crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 cans of water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried basil to taste

  • Add enough olive oil to cover bottom of pot.
  • Heat over low flame.
  • Dice 3 garlic cloves, and brown in olive oil.
  • Add crushed tomatoes, then water; stir.
  • Add sugar and basil.
Here are the episodes with the complete lessons.

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