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Need help for really good meatballs.

I shot off my mouth and criticized (politely) Deb's Eric Ripert-inspired meatballs.

Bottom line is that I need a killer recipe because I said I'd be the editor-in-charge of the next meatball experience.

I will go to great lengths, up to and including grinding disparate meats, to arrive at the perfect blend. I'll seek out all appropriate herbs and have no problem staying up all night to pull this off.

This is serious family competition. My wife is a very good cook. I have no intention of backing off.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Well, Steve, I'd start with a 25/25/50 blend of pork, veal, and lean beef. I would grind it myself, using the food processor, to ensure I got precisely the grind I want. Next trick is to match the fillers and flavorings.
    I'd probably blend the ground meat using a 1 part meat to other ingredients by weight ratio, with 1/4 part bread crumbs, 1/2 part fresh eggs, 1/2 part condensed milk, 1/2 part grated cheese (Parmesan and Romano) 1/4 part finely grated onion, one finely chopped clove of garlic, finely chopped fresh parsley and fresh basil to taste.
    I'd make the meat balls to a size about 1 1/2 inches and pack them loosely, just enough to hold their shape. Then I'd refrigerate them, covered, over night on a baking sheet and next morning I'd roast them in the oven at 350 degrees for about half an hour to 45 minutes, turning once half way through the cooking time.
    You could also saute these in a film of olive oil but, if you do, keep the heat low and brown them very slowly. An over-browned or, worse yet, burned meatball is a loser.

    20 Replies
    1. re: todao

      This sounds good. Tell me more about your bread crumbs. The condensed milk component is reminiscent of a Paul Prudhomme meatloaf (a good thing).

      1. re: steve h.

        I like to make my own so that I can control their size. I admit that I do often use those that come from a box at the super market but, for a meatball contest, I'd make my own. For the contest you describe I would use a good quality sourdough (e.g San Francisco sourdough - the real stuff) and extra sour if it is available. But that's a risk because if the "taste tester" doesn't like the flavor profile - you lose.
        Paul Prudhomme - great scott, I haven't read any of his work for a few years. I used to watch his work on PBS; one of my culinary heroes. Must try to find something recent that he's written.
        In case you're interested in my reading list for the past year, here's some of them:

        1. re: steve h.

          Panko works well in meatballs too.

        2. re: todao

          Condensed milk in meatballs? That sounds disgusting. Do you perhaps mean evaporated milk?

          I think the trick to good meatballs is to soak a few slices of bread in milk (maybe three slices nof good white bread with the crust cut off for two pounds of meat) for a half an hour or so before you put the meatball ingredients together. (Todao's ingredients sound great, all except for the condensed milk.) Once the other ingredients are in a bowl, squeeze the milk out of the bread and add it to them. Then form and cook the meatballs as Tadao suggested.

          1. re: Euonymous

            Agree you don't want condensed milk- it's sugary. I prefer the milk soaked bread too. The real trick is to handle the meat as little as possible for tender meatballs.

            1. re: Euonymous

              Yeah ... thanks for picking that one up Euonymous. Even though evaporated milk is technically "condensed" that isn't the way we typically describe it and I apologize for the culinary faux pas.
              Nice to know that an error made in this forum is eventually caught and exposed by someone.
              I really appreciate your catching that one. If he'd used "condensed" milk I'd have gone into hiding.
              I sure hope Steve gets back to this and catches the misinformation.

              1. re: todao

                No worries. I'm just happy for the participation.
                Meatballs are serious business.

                1. re: steve h.

                  If you want to go all the way, heavy cream is the only way to go. With eggplant parmigiana too. I usually punk out and use half and half, because I always have on hand.

                  1. re: coll

                    I'm all in.
                    I shot off my mouth and now I have to deliver.

                    1. re: steve h.

                      OK from all my years of experience: mix some type of white bread with cream, just enough to make it into a panade. Then an egg. Then some seasoning like Italian seasonings. parmesan cheese, granulated garlic, worchestshire, your call. Don't forget a good amount of salt and pepper. Then your mix of veal, pork and beef ground. Squish with your hands, my grandmother always said the little bit of heat was what melded it. Fry on all sides in a bit of olive oil and throw them in the sauce when it gets going. I'm making a pot tomorrow so if I forgot anything I will let you know then.

                      1. re: coll

                        I've only used water with the bread, use parm, finely chopped garlic, s & p, chopped fresh basil, lots of eggs. I use ground chuck (beef) from a great butcher and brown all sides well in frying pan.

                        Where does the cream come in the eggplant parm? Do you fry or broil the slices?

                        1. re: walker

                          I have a thing, I never use water if I can use something with a little flavor! I like just a hint of garlic in there, therefore granulated. I tolerate garlic much better now (in my old age) but still don't like it in my face, so to speak. Used to upset my stomach something awful and I hated when I encountered it in unexpected places. My SIL once made meatballs with raw garlic and we still shudder when we remember our first taste!

                          I find more than one or two eggs the meatballs fall apart, do you have that problem?

                          My eggplant: I dust the slices with flour, then dip in a bowl of heavy cream mixed with about 5 eggs and lots of parmesan. Then, breadcrumb and flour mix to coat and into the deep fryer. The egg and cream that is leftover gets poured in the middle of the casserole, to fluff it up a bit. This is one dish that I cannot compromise on the frying aspect....plus we LOVE to eat the plain fried slices right out of the fryer, well salted.

                          1. re: coll

                            My mother was US born, 100% Southern Italian and her meatballs, to my mind, were really GREAT. She said her secret was lots of eggs. For 3 lbs of ground chuck, I use 10-12 eggs. I use 10-12 slices of firm white bread, crusts removed, soaked in water, then squeeze out water. After mixing everything, she would leave it in the bowl with a towel on top, in the fridge, for a couple of hours or so. I never have trouble with them falling apart.

                            I love a lot of finely chopped garlic...garlic must be very fresh with that middle "germ" removed...I'm told this is what gives people heartburn and in really fresh garlic, it's hard to find (easy to find in older garlic).

                            I also put in chopped, fresh basil and nearly a cup of grated parm. I brown them well, salt in mix and also when I remove from the browning. We love them as is and also after they've simmered in the sauce about an hour.

                            That eggplant dish sounds great to me!

                            1. re: walker

                              Just made my meatballs for tomorrow, 2 lb meat with two eggs, and was a little nervous they were so squishy. But that may have been because I've been experimenting with different breads for the initial panade, and used Sabrett hot dog rolls just for fun. When I'm comfortable with the results, I'll try more eggs, even though I was recently told my cholesterol is very high...how can that be?

                              Also very interested in your garlic instructions, they don't bother me that much anymore and maybe (?) my meatballs are a bit bland. Plus fresh basil, yeah!!

                              1. re: coll

                                I don't know how many meatballs I get with 3 lbs but it's a lot so per serving I don't think you'd be eating more than 1 or 2 eggs.

                              2. re: walker

                                10-12 eggs in your recipe? Are they poached or coddled? : > )

                                1. re: grampart

                                  It just makes them moist, not hard. Everyone seems to love them.

                                  1. re: walker

                                    Yes, that's my experience, too. Maroni said "I'm making a quiche inside these meatballs" (4 eggs to 1 lb ground chuck).

                  2. re: todao

                    If he'd used "condensed" milk I'd have gone into hiding.
                    Deb would probably have laughed him right out of the kitchen.

                  3. re: Euonymous

                    I agree with the soaking of 1 or 2 crustless pieces of bread in milk. I am a total convert to the trinity of veal, beef and pork. Veal isn't often available here, so when I find at the grocery I buy several packages. I also try to handle the mixture as little as possible.

                2. I use a mix that is one third, pork shoulder, veal shoulder and sirloin for Italian meatballs. I use my own bread crumbs and one medium egg per 1 1/2 pounds of meat. I also add about one cup of the then-cooking tomato sauce to the meat mix (cool it a bit), because it is all about getting flavor into them. I also mix in garlic powder, greated parmesan, parsley, and a touch of oregano and salt.

                  I think the biggest thing is how you are going to cook them. I gave up browning them long ago, as this seemed to make harder meatballs and oiler tomato sauce to cook them in. Instead, the hot cooking temp of the tomato sauce is hot enough to sear meatballs if you layer them in slowly. I once saw my grandmother do this, and I concluded that no one could make juicer and tastier meatballs. Just don't stir until they firm up a bit -- maybe about ten minutes of cooking. On the other hand, browning can impart more flavor if that is the flavor you prefer, so this is really your choice. I just made 15 pounds of this stuff for a Christmas Party a few weeks ago, and got raves without browning. Still, for a review or contest, or if you are not going to make them Italian style, then brown them up well, Please let us know how you did. Good luck.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: RGC1982

                    I also put them directly into the sauce without browning them. I also like to add about a 1/4 of a cup of ricotta to the mix. It adds flavor and makes them even more tender.

                  2. Just wanted to throw in another vote for the soaked bread in place of breadcrumbs. In my experience it makes a huge difference in the meatball texture, helping them to stay tender.
                    Learned this from my Italian grandmother, whose meatballs have spoiled me for life.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: poptart

                      I have been making meatballs for 30 plus years and I got my recipie from a 75 Y/O aunt from northern Italy and they are a real hit and very simple no milk or dairy of any kind. here it is: equal parts pork/ veal/ beef fresh parsly,grated pecorino ,black pepper,good bread crumbs, egg,finley grated garlic (not too much) mix all together with a wooden spoon minimize handling pack the balls loosley. spread them out on a cookie sheet and refrigirate for a few hours. sear them lightly in olive oil and throw them in the sauce to complete cooking. very easy and you will love them if you take the time to go to a buthcer to custom grind the meat you will not regret it. BTW thats the way it was done in the old days. Good luck

                    2. Oh man steve, what did you do this time.

                      couple of items i do that i like. everyone speaks of soaking the bread with milk. I actually add water to the meat mixture. it is amazing how much water it will hold. then i bake the meatballs on a rack in the oven. this almost steams tehm from the inside and makes then incredibly moist.

                      as far as ingredients, i like the "meatloaf' mix that others have offered up 50-25-25. a little red pepper and some good parm in the meat mixture is always a good touch.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jfood

                        Howdy, Doggie.
                        Thanks for the input. Meatballs are serious business. I suspect I've just taken the first halting steps of a very long journey.

                      2. My family's Calabrese-American classic. For each pound of beef (all freshly ground chuck, a little pork can't hurt): 1 cup plain dried bread crumbs, ideally homemade; 1 cup water (up to, as needed to soften); 1 egg; 1 clove garlic mined; chopped parsley to taste; grated pecorino romano or grana padano (say, 1/4 c); s/p. No milk, no cream, no basil, no onions. Handle lightly with wet palms, shape into 1" to 1-1/4" size pieces. Fry in olive oil. Add to sauce. Serves 4 (with pasta), and scales up fairly well.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: bob96

                          I make Mama Leone's meatballs with raisins but cut the raisins in half with scissors. I like the smaller pieces and they stay together better. They are a tad sweet bt very good.

                          1. re: Johnny West

                            You should try dried currants then, it's a nice change. If you can find them, that is!

                            1. re: coll

                              I have! Funny you mentioned that. We have currents and get them at the commissary - our bushes haven't done well in recent years.

                              1. re: Johnny West

                                I read that dried currants and pignolia nuts are the secret to someplace in NYC's famous meatballs. Rao's or someone like that.

                                1. re: coll

                                  It's very Sicilian. My family always made meatballs with raisins and pignoli for my father. Not being a fan of sweet with protein since childhood, I never liked them.

                                  1. re: roxlet

                                    I tried adding currents and pignolia once, but it didn't make that much of a difference for such expensive ingredients.

                                    1. re: coll

                                      did you just add them to a standard recipe, or follow one that actually called for pine nuts & currants? the Bon App├ętit recipe for Sicilian meatballs is terrific...several of us here on CH are big fans.


                        2. it certainly looks like meatballs are like fingerprints or DNA. Good luck with whatever methods you choose I am sure with all this data and the effort you are putting into them they will be great!! Merry Christmas to all


                          1. For my money, you can't beat the meatballs made from this recipe from Rao's in NYC.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: grampart

                              I adapted this recipe a couple of years ago. This was the first time i saw water in meatballs and the basis for my adding water to the meatballs and I have about 20-30 of them in the freezer. The baking in mine versus frying in this receipe will give a moister end result, i like the improvement. The breadcrumbs need reduction in amount, it gets a lttle dense and a little to obready with this amount. Working the meat is against many philosophies, but the end result is a very "spongy" texture which I then place in sauces for about 30 minutes after baking. a little red pepper flakes gives a very nice background spice.

                              I am a big fan of this adapted recipe.

                              1. re: grampart

                                You can't beat Rao's lemon chicken, either.

                                I look forward to making the Rao's meat balls.



                              2. This is a great thread. Thanks everyone for sharing your insights.
                                I'll digest the great ideas here and will report back.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: steve h.

                                  In my opinion, Italian inspired meatballs are best, but since this is a challenge, consider thinking outside the box a little. The inclusion of water, milk and ricotta is what I have done in the past. As for solid cheeses, Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano is a given.....however consider a piece if imported Provolone or Fresh Mozzarella.

                                  A secret for fluffy, silken texture Asian Dumplings or meatballs......blend in silken/soft tofu.

                                2. Hey Steve!

                                  So I wrote this in another thread, but here you go: "I've experimented a few times with ground pork, beef, lamb, veal, a combination of few or none using a variety of spices and ingredients (cumin, raisins, nutmeg, pine nuts, even grape jelly as a secret ingredient, etc., etc.) My favorite is pork and beef, minced onion, panko, freshly grated Pecorino Romano, parsley, garlic, sea salt, ground white pepper and a full flavored extra virgin olive oil."

                                  Good luck!

                                  1. I'm loving this thread... can't wait to hear back ;)
                                    My .02: yes to three types of ground meat; yes to white bread soaked in milk; yes to frying, not baking.
                                    Also, plenty of parsley, garlic and romano cheese (if you're going for an italian flavor). very fresh eggs.
                                    good luck!

                                    1. The best meatballs I've ever had so far are the ones I make now after eyeballing and listening to Mike Maroni as he made his winning meatballs on T.V... to a lb of ground chuck, he adds 4 eggs, 4 oz (by weight, grated) pecorino romano, about 1/3 to 1/2 C grated or chopped onion, depending upon his mood, about a 1/4 C of chopped flatleaf parsley, what looks to be about a cup of fresh bread crumbs and 304 minced cloves of garlic. Make smallish meatballs, about 12 from the recipe, bake in a very hot oven til browned outside, then add to very good marinara to simmer the rest of the way. He sells these by the pot full.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: mcf

                                        304 cloves of garlic? Why not just 300 even? ;-)

                                        1. re: coll

                                          Oh boy, that's hopefully a typo, mcf probably meant to place a hyphen between 3 and 4, as in 3-4 cloves of garlic. I mean, can you imagine? Have a little ground beef with your garlic ball...

                                          Good thread, btw, nice to see Rao's meatballs linked, I'm a big fan and that's pretty much what I do, although more garlic, more parsley and slightly less water.

                                          Good luck, steve!

                                          1. re: bushwickgirl

                                            My husband used to get meatball heros from a place in Hempstead for lunch that, when he walked in the door that night, you could smell it a mile away. He and his co-workers loved it though and got them quite often. They called them garlic ball heroes.

                                          2. re: coll

                                            LOL... start peeling NOW. 3 or 4, folks. :-)

                                            My birthday present was a gift certficate for the tasting menu at Maroni Cuisine; have to book two weeks ahead, and will use it to chase winter doldrums soon.

                                        2. This meatball recipe from Anne Burrell is the best I have made to date:


                                          1. Reporting back.

                                            I had some fresh-ground chuck on hand and ground up an equal measure of pork (love the Waring Pro meat grinder). To that, I ground up some left-over Italian bread in the food processor, added two eggs, fresh-chopped parsley and some salt. In a saucepan, I heated up some diced onions in oil and threw in some dried red peppers. I added that to the meat mix. Also added freshly grated parmigiano reggiano and some water.

                                            I mixed everything by hand, with attitude. I formed the balls larger than a golf, smaller than a tennis, then I browned them. I finished them in a 350 oven for 15 minutes. The meatballs stood at room temperature for maybe 30 minutes before they spent quality time in Deb's marinara sauce.

                                            Bottom line?
                                            This was a good start. I left out the garlic (part of my mise en place, right in front of me) and I feel mighty dumb. Meatballs were juicy, had a measure of structural integrity and decent flavor. Leftovers were maybe even better.

                                            Next steps.
                                            I can build on this very basic recipe. I'll add the garlic next time. I'll take things slowly, one change at a time, so I can properly understand flavor changes.

                                            I'll report back as things progress.

                                            As always, all thoughts/comments/criticisms are greatly appreciated.

                                            7 Replies
                                            1. re: steve h.


                                              I ground chuck, veal, pork at 1:1:1 ratio. Sauteed onions, dried red peppers and some garlic in olive oil. I also blurred some old Italian bread in the food processor. The meat and the mix went into a large bowl. I also added salt, two eggs, parsley, freshly grated parmigiano reggiano and water (yes, water). Browned the meatballs in a skillet with olive oil and placed them in the oven. I then transferred them to my simmering pot of sauce for another 20 minutes or so. I think all this is pretty standard stuff.

                                              The results were good, very good. Much better than my previous effort. There's still room for improvement. I may slightly increase the size of the bread crumb and I need to rethink seasoning.

                                              I need to tune my taste buds at a good restaurant in Manhattan. Rao's is out of the question but maybe I can pop over to Baldoria.

                                              I'll report back.

                                              1. re: steve h.

                                                Please try this: when you're sauteing the onions, etc., toward the end toss in a few/more anchovy filets to dissolve and cut down on the salt.

                                                1. re: Spot

                                                  Very interesting idea. Is this part of your basic recipe? If so, what was your inspiration?
                                                  Deb and I will be back in Rome in two weeks. Any thoughts on traditional recipes would be gratefully appreciated.

                                                  1. re: steve h.

                                                    I add anchovy paste to a lot of dishes where I'd like to up the meat flavor punch. Anchovy (at least to me) packs a lot of umami flavor, it adds an extra dimension. And while anchovies do have an unmistakable flavor, a few teaspoons of paste (or a couple fillets) deliver a umami punch, but with no anchovy taste.

                                                    Mushrooms, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce all do the same - add that umami profile that boosts the meaty flavor of a dish.

                                                    Though for different flavor effects, to me it's like adding a few shakes of ground red pepper or nutmeg to some dishes - it's certainly not enough to get even a hint of actual heat or nutmeg flavor, but it is enough to add an extra layer that wakes things up a bit.

                                                    Perhaps Spot's inspiration for this is different, but I think anchovies as a flavor booster - not for anchovy taste - are underused in most kitchens.

                                                2. re: steve h.


                                                  Nice report back. Maybe we should try a blind test on whether sautee-bake or bake-sautee is the proper technique.

                                                  Just a thought of taking sous-vide theory to a meatball.

                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                    Howdy doggie,

                                                    I think I have the basics down now. The suggestions on this post (thanks everyone) will help me tweak things a bit. My biggest challenge moving forward is calibrating my taste buds. I need to find a restaurant with killer meatballs.

                                                    Meatballs are serious business.

                                              2. I've heard of cooks that use bread and/or eggs as a bind in meatballs, hamburgs etc. but I never thought there were so many of them...maybe there onto something I have never tried but here is my recipe.
                                                1/2 lean ground beef, 1/4 ground pork, and 1/4 ground veal. (I get mine from a local farmer but feel free to grind your own.) Cook 1 box frozen spinach (use fresh if you wish) drain in a colander and squeeze dry. Grate parmesan cheese using the large side of the grater. (Pieces should be about 1-2 inches long) Mix fresh ground pepper, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder and salt (I use no salt due to diet restrictions) to taste. Mix into meat mixture with spinach, cheese and some liquid smoke. Form into golf ball size meat balls and place on cookie sheets. Cook in preheated 450 degree oven for 10 minutes. Drain excess fat and put back in oven for another 5 minutes. Drain again and turn meatballs over. Continue to cook another 7 minutes drain again and cook until slightly browned. Remove from cookie pans to wax paper to cool. I find the spinach and cheese act as the binder. If one breaks when moving to cool pop it you mouth! These freeze well in ziplocks. Add to you favourite pasta sauce while heating it up so some of the sauce is absorbed by the meatballs. Good luck!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: 02putt

                                                  Very interesting. Thanks for the detailed response. You've given me a lot to think about.

                                                2. Mine are pretty simple but yummy. I use a combo of beef and pork (usually around a 1:3 ratio). I tried to veal in the past but I just did not like the flavor. I do not have exact measurements but I add: chopped parsley, romano cheese, fresh bread crumbs soaked in milk, garlic, salt and pepper, nutmeg and 2 eggs. I bake at 350 in the oven for 20 minutes and then add to the sauce. When baking, I place them on a broil pan or I place a rack inside a pan so the grease will drain. My sauce is a simply: sauteed grated carrots (for sweetness - I refuse to add sugar to my sauce), garlic and onion, 2 cans of San Marzano tomatoes (more pricey but so worth it), salt and pepper and lots of fresh basil.

                                                  Next time I make meatballs, I might add some grated onion. I tried a killler meatloaf recipe recently which has grated onion in it and it was so good.

                                                  Oh and as for freezing, it works great. If I make a big batch, I flash freeze half the batch and then place them in a large ziploc bag. We can then remove as few or as many as we need for meatball subs, spaghetti and meatballs, etc.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: hto44

                                                    How did you arrive at nutmeg? I'm still sorting out the seasoning thing.

                                                    1. re: steve h.

                                                      My recipe comes from my brother-in-law's grandmother, Nana Anzivino....right off the boat from Italy. She said add nutmeg and I don't question. Not alot....just about 1/4 tsp. This is based on 4 pounds of meat. If you are making less, use less nutmeg because you do not want it to overpower.

                                                      1. re: hto44

                                                        Very cool: both nonna and the nutmeg.

                                                  2. Whatever else I do, I cook the onions before I add them to the meatball mixture, soak bread with milk (or cream), and use parmigiano-reggiano.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Jay F

                                                      Yes to all the above. I haven't soaked the bread in milk yet but that may happen down the road.

                                                      1. re: steve h.

                                                        You might try soaking the bread with chicken broth and adding ricotta as the dairy element.
                                                        Another subtle layer of different flavor, and ricotta makes for very tender results.

                                                        I second the recommendation of some extra umami: anchovy paste works well and used in moderation doesn't taste fishy at all. I prefer Maggi seasoning myself; have to buy at the local Latin grocery because the supermarkets around here have stopped carrying it. But it's a great source of umami.

                                                        As far as spices go, various previous posts have been focused on the classic Italian meatball, with good reason, and sound advice. But there are alternatives you might explore in your quest for something extraordinary.

                                                        Traditional Italian sausage spices- red pepper flakes, fennel seed & oregano
                                                        Greek/North African spices- chopped fresh mint and a little thyme, maybe even lemon zest
                                                        Middle Eastern meat spices- a little cumin, turmeric and a subtle pinch of ground cloves
                                                        I make meatloaf with fresh parsley, chives and thyme; they work really well together.

                                                        Just brainstorming some outside-the-box ideas (as fourunder has also suggested) in case something more unusual might suit you. Consider mint, seriously.

                                                    2. All I can say is make sure your meatballs don't have to many breadcrumbs/fillers. It gets to taste like plastic.... Maybe it's just me. I've been spoiled on good meatballs from my dad. Oh, and if you do need filler rice is good :)

                                                      1. I've always believed that the secret to really great meatballs lies in how they are "handled" from start to finish. I'll let the step-by-step found here (http://bit.ly/ehunQf) provide the details, but the bottom line is that the more you leave the ingredients alone the better. I have made my meatballs the same way for quite some time now (my name might be a clue) and they are always my most sought after dish. As for ingredients: 2/3 veal, 1/3 beef. Plus, wetted bread (never breadcrumbs), milk, eggs, salt and pepper to taste, that's it. Sounds simple (boring?) but not in either case. The secret, as you will see in the link provided, is in the handling. Hope this adds to the discussion.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Mister Meatball

                                                          Oh, my. This looks wonderful, Mr. Meatball.

                                                        2. Deb grabbed the meatball mantle from me and made her own rendition today.

                                                          She mixed house-ground chuck and pork with water-soaked and squeezed Italian bread, freshly-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, kosher salt, ground pepper, herbs from the garden (basil, Italian parsley), egg and her secret ingredient: homemade ricotta. This may be a riff on a Lidia Bastianich recipe but I'm not sure.

                                                          Meatballs were browned in olive oil and then transferred to a pan of homemade sauce for a loving finish. Meatballs in sauce were sent to the coolerator where they will hang out for a day before being called into action Monday night.