Mouth-Watering Meatballs

Some gossip magazine or "news" show or website or something like that recently reported an interesting "celebrity" feud. Apparently, two of the Real Housewives of New Jersey disagree as to what is the proper Italian way to cook meatballs. Teresa Giudice, in the recipe for "Joe's Juicy Meatballs," bakes her meatballs and makes fun of fellow housewife Caroline Manzo for frying hers. Well, we would normally say "to each her own," but in this case, we have to side with Caroline, no matter what percent Italian she is!

We have perfected fooled with our meatball recipe over the years. Sometimes we use beef, pork and veal; other times we substitute lamb for the veal. Sometimes we use plain breadcrumbs, other times, panko. It all depends on our moods and the contents of our pantry. This particular time our meatballs came out really really really good. So, we decided it was time to share the recipe.


We think the secret to this particular batch (which made about 80 meatballs) was a red pepper that we purchased at specialty cheese (and other fine foods) shop Caseus in New Haven, CT. This is crushed Salemme Pepper, and is Connecticut grown and cultivated. We have used it in a few of our dishes recently, and it has given them a unique flavor. It has a beautiful orange-red, fiery color and intense, make-your-nose-itchy smell. And it is hot. Really hot! So we use it sparingly and highly recommend you do the same. Still, even the little bit we used gave these meatballs a nice hint of spicy hot flavor. If you can't find this pepper (it is available online!), or if you care not to use it (go ahead and try it!), use regular red pepper flakes, but double the amount as noted in the recipe below.

Besides the pepper, what made these meatballs so good? First, we worked hard at making them what we consider the perfect size: golf-ball-sized. Frying them in oil (sorry, Teresa and Joe) causes our favorite results: dark-brown-and-a-little-crisp-on-the-outside, but still tender-moist-and-juicy-with-just-a-touch-of-pink-on-the-inside.  And let's not forget that red pepper kick! They stayed together well and tasted amazing in our Goodfellas-inspired red sauce.

You gotta' love spaghetti and meatballs. Mangia!

Mouth-Watering Meatballs

Cooks' note: we have noted our usual variations in the recipe in case you want to try those too!


1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
1 lb. ground veal (or lamb)
1 1/4 cup panko style breadcrumbs (or 2/3 cup regular plain breadcrumbs)
4 eggs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Crushed Salemme Pepper (or 2 teaspoons regular red pepper flakes)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 teaspoons kosher salt
olive oil
 Place the chopped onion, garlic cloves and chicken broth in a blender or food processor and blend well. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients as well as the garlic-onion mixture and mix with your hands until thoroughly combined. Put a couple drops of olive oil on your hands and begin to roll the mixture between your palms to the desired size meatball which you place on a cookie sheet; when your hands start to get sticky, wash them off, re-oil them, and begin again until the meatball mixture is gone. Fill a large skillet with about 1/4 inch of olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, place the meatballs in the skillet in batches, without crowding the skillet. Cook them for 3-4 minutes, then flip them and cook them on the other side, about 2 minutes. Drain them on paper towels. Continue until all meatballs are browned. If you plan to eat them right away, make your sauce and heat the meatballs through in the sauce. If you plan to freeze them, allow them to cool thoroughly before doing so.


Lomo said...

Fabulous looking meatballs. I love that it makes so many...I can freeze them for quick meals on busy nights!! I have never fried a meatball before but you may have swayed me to give it a go!!

Emily said...

Love Caseus. Meatballs are the best meal. I will take which ever way I can get. I am definitely reconsidering dinner plans tonight.

Soni said...

Love this recipe,the meatballs are definitely mouthwatering :)

Jocie's Mom said...

Those are some hot meatballs! I love your method, who cares what that housewife says...I totally 'pffth' her :) Buzzed!

Eating Deliciously said...

Delicious! Can't wait to try these.

Tiffany said...

I agree, the right pepper can make all the difference in a dish, and sometimes it is hard to replicate a good recipe because peppers vary so much. I also have to agree that frying is the best method for cooking meatballs!