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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

That's A Meatball

These are giant meatballs!
I've never been much of a meatball maker.  In fact, I've never been much of a meatball orderer in restaurants either.  It's funny, because I like meatballs.  So why the meatball freeze out?

Who knows?

But I'm all about trying to master new things, so I thought I'd give meatballs a go.  But first I had to find a recipe.

Rao's is famous for their meatballs, so why not start with the king of Meatball Mountain and make theirs.  The recipe is fairly straight forward: meat, bread crumbs, cheese...  A little mixing and I had the meatball mixture.

This is where my friends at Rao's lost me.  The idea of frying up all those meatballs was totally unappealing to me.  First of all, frying schmutzs up my stove and I just wasn't in the mood for the whole degreasing project.  Second of all, frying would make the meatballs a little greasier than I thought I would like.

Well, when in doubt, check with Ina.  Ina bakes her meatballs.  So I baked mine.  Done and done.

Following Ina's lead, I cracked open a couple of jars of Rao's Marinara Sauce and we had delicious spaghetti and meatballs for dinner.  All compliments of Rao's and Ina.

Recipe:  Rao's Meatballs
(Rao's Restaurant, New York City)

*  Note:  Instead of frying, I baked the meatballs for 30 minutes at 350, turning once after 15 minutes.


1 ½ lbs ground beef
½ lb ground veal
½ lb ground pork
4 large garlic cloves (3 minced and 1 reserved for frying)
2 tablespoons parsley
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups water
2 cups pecorino romano cheese , grated
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
2 cups cooking oil or 2 cups olive oil , for frying
Marinara sauce of your choosing (I used Rao's)


In a large bowl, place the meat and rub the minced garlic into it.  Press the meat in the bowl.
Add in this order: Salt, pepper, parsley, 2 eggs and water. Then sprinkle the cheese over the top as if you are going to cover the water. Finally, sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the cheese.  Mix from the outside of the bowl to the middle, an inch or two at a time.   Do not overmix!

After the ingredients are mixed, start to roll the meatballs in your hands, about 6 ounces per meatball.

After your meatballs are rolled, take a 10 inch frying pan and add your oil and the reserved whole clove of garlic and heat. When the clove starts to brown, the oil is ready.

Fry the meatballs, cooking and flipping until golden brown, about 4 1/2 to 5 minutes per side.  Remove the meatballs after frying and put on a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess oil.  (If you want you can bake the meatballs on a lightly greased tray at 350 degrees-the taste is totally different than frying).

Add the meatballs to your tomato sauce to finish cooking.  Let simmer for at least 45-60 minutes.  Serve with the sauce.

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