Italian meatball recipe courtesy of Tutta Bella’s Executive Chef, Brian Gojdics
1 cup stale bread, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 cup milk
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 egg
½ cup Grana Padano cheese, finely grated
3 teaspoons sea salt, divided
1 pound ground beef
½ pound ground pork
½ pound ground veal
extra virgin olive oil, as needed for frying
1 28 ounce can of southern Italian peeled tomatoes
Water, if needed
In a small bowl, soak stale bread cubes in milk for about 30 minutes until the bread has absorbed the milk and turned very soft. Stir the mixture on occasion
so that all of the bread softens evenly. Once the bread has softened, give it a light squeeze to remove the milk and set the milk aside. In a large bowl, use
your hands to shred the soaked bread into small pieces. Then, add minced garlic, egg, Grana Padano and 2 teaspoons of sea salt along with ground beef,
pork and veal. With your hands, mix the ingredients until they are just incorporated. Be careful not to over mix or it will make the meatballs tough. The
consistency at this point should be slightly sticky. If not, mix in up to 2 tablespoons of the reserved milk from the bread to create a slightly sticky consistency.
At this point, roll the mixture into the desired size meatballs and set aside.
Open the can of tomatoes into a bowl and add 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Using your hands, crush the tomatoes into the desired sauce consistency. The
sauce consistency is completely up to you so make it as smooth or chunky as you like! Place the crushed tomatoes in a pan large enough to hold both
the sauce and meatballs when finished. Place the pan over medium heat and bring the tomatoes to a simmer.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add enough extra virgin olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan with a ¼ inch of oil. Once the oil is
hot, fry the meatballs turning them every 4-5 minutes to completely brown the meatballs on all sides. Do not overfill the pan as this will prevent the
meatballs from browning properly so fry them in smaller batches, if needed, for approximately 20 minutes. Once the meatballs have browned, place
them on a plate lined with paper towels to drain away the oil.
Place all the browned meatballs into the simmering tomato sauce and continue to simmer together for 30 minutes. Check the sauce consistency as it
simmers because it will thicken. If the sauce becomes too thick for your taste, add 1 tablespoon water at a time until the desired thickness is achieved.
Taste the sauce and adjust with sea salt, if desired.
The meatballs are ready to be served or let them cool in the sauce overnight as this will result in a more flavorful meatball and sauce the next day. If you
do cool them down, slowly reheat over low heat when you are ready to use and, again, the sauce may need to be thinned with a touch of water.
Traditionally, the sauce will be served over pasta as a first course and the meatball itself will be served as a second course. However, you can serve both
together as an appetizer, toss both with pasta or turn it into an incredible meatball sandwich with your favorite bread!