Meatballs are universal. Every country in the world has them. After all, you don’t have to be a genius to ground some meat and roll it with your hands into bite-sized meaty goodies.
Having said that, some meatballs are just better than others, and Italians do theirs very well, especially in the US. And what better example than the meatballs straight from Chef Mario Batali’s playbook?
Here’s my take on the famous meatballs. And don’t worry, they’re pretty easy to make and enjoy. Eight ingredients are all you need to put together the classic Italian meal.
Chef and restaurateur Mario Batali uses stale bread cut into small pieces to hold the meatballs together; he dampens them and forms a paste. I, on the other hand, use regular breadcrumbs, but you do you.
You’ll also need ground beef. Again, choose what you’re most comfortable with. Just try not to get ground beef that’s too lean — you need some fat in there!
We’re also using eggs, garlic and lots of Pecorino cheese — that’s the secret ingredient right there. And talking about secret ingredients, Chef Batali adds roasted pine nuts to the mix. Yes, the stuff is expensive, but it adds a lovely nuttiness and a crunch to every bite, so add them if you can.
Finally, have in hand some tomato sauce. You can use your favorite. The meatballs are the stars of the show, after all. Any decent tomato sauce will work fine.
Serve the meatballs over pasta for the whole experience. You can also enjoy them on their own, perhaps with a side of white rice, that’s good, too. You have to add some kind of carbs, whether it’s pasta, rice or bread.
And here’s a secret. Make yourself a sandwich Subway-style with the meatballs for a satisfying lunch. Meatballs can do it all!
In a mixing bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, ground beef, eggs, garlic, pecorino and pine nuts. Mix well.
Wet your hands and roll 12 bite-sized meatballs. Place them on a plate on the side.
Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and brown the meatballs on all sides (10 minutes).
Reduce the flame and pour in the tomato sauce. Simmer until just boiling and serve with artisan bread or over pasta.