Spicy Meatballs

INGREDIENTS:

Meatball Ingredients:
(Serves 8-10)

  • 1 small loaf stale Italian bread (about 8 thick slices) torn into 2 1/2” chunks
  • 2 lbs. 80% lean ground beef chuck, broken up
  • 5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 ½ cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • canola oil for frying

Ragu Ingredients: (Serves 8-10)

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 celery stalks with leaves, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 1 ½ lbs (6-8) meaty, bone-in-pork spareribs, rinsed
  • 1 ½ lbs (6-8) sweet Italian sausage with fennel seeds, pierced all over with a fork
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 3 (35 oz.) cans tomato puree
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Calabrian chili or ½ teaspoon of red chili flakes

METHOD:

Meatball Method:

  • Put bread in a bowl and add enough warm water to cover. Let stand for 5 minutes, turning to moisten evenly. Gently squeeze out excess water.
  • Add beef, garlic, parsley, egg and ¾ cup of Parmigiano to the bread and combine. Season with Salt and pepper. Knead the mixture for at least 5 minutes with your hands, until uniformly combined and smooth.
  • Pinch a tablespoon of meat into your palms and shape into a ball. Place on a baking sheet and continue with the rest of the mixture.
  • Fill a 10” skillet halfway with canola oil and heat over high heat. When strands form along the bottom, lower 8-10 meatballs at a time into the oil. Do not overcrowd. They should be ¾ submerged in oil. Reduce the heat to medium and fry for 6-7 minutes each side, turning only once.
  • Remove the meatballs from the oil and turn the heat back up to high before starting the second batch.
  • 20 minutes before serving, add the meatballs to the simmering ragu.

Ragu Method:

  • Warm olive oil in a large, heavy-bottom pan over medium heat.
  • Add celery and onion, season with salt and pepper, and sauté, partially covered about 5 minutes until golden and soft.
  • Add meats and raise the heat to medium-high. Sauté, turning occasionally until browned all over.
  • Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until it evaporates, 5 minutes.
  • Add tomato puree, basil, chili pepper, salt and pepper. Partially cover, bring to a boil, and reduce heat. Let it simmer 1 ½-2 hours.

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