Here are the most important points from one Italian girl.
- Soaking the bread in cream or milk gives almost a pudding-like texture to the interior of the meatballs. Fantastic.
- Finely grate the garlic and finely chop the onion. They will soften a bit, but the smaller you make them the less noticeable they are.
- Use three types of meat. I'm not a huge fan of veal. Well, let's put it this way. I'm a huge fan of the taste, but a little bit skittish of the killing of the baby cows. I just try to forget about that aspect. The texture and flavor of the veal add a remarkable background taste and texture in comparison to the harshness of the beef.
- Because of the soft texture of these puppies, you don't need to have them simmer in tomato sauce for a long time. If you do, they'll fall apart. I've had much success baking them dry, then tossing them lightly with marinara right before serving. I often freeze half of the batch, unsauced, in ziploc bags. They freeze very well and are a great throw together meal on a night that you're busy.
Meatballs, done the right way
- Soak 3-4 slices of white bread (crusts removed) in one cup cup half-and-half. Set aside.
- Combine one half pound of each, ground pork, veal and beef, two eggs, 3/4 cup grated pecorino romano, 1/2 cup very finely chopped onion, two garlic cloves (grated), 1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley, two or three grates of nutmeg, two teaspoons kosher salt, one teaspoon black pepper.
- Squeeze bread lightly to get some of the half-and-half out. Gently crumble into small pieces. Add to meat mixture.
- Mix together. I always start mixing with a spoon, only to end up having to use my hands. It feels gross at first, but you just have to pretend that it's not raw meat.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour 1/4 cup olive oil onto sheet.
- Using an ice cream scoop or a 1/4 measuring cup, scoop out mixture and roll into balls.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown.