August 29, 2004

Meatballs and Tomatoes


1 slice good white bread
1/3 cup milk
1 lb ground beef, chuck is preferred
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 egg
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 table spoons freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
1 whole nutmeg
1 cup fresh ripe tomatoes
fine, dry unflavored bread crumbs (to roll meatball in)
vegetable oil


Trim off the crust from the bread, put the milk and the bread in a saucepan, heat low. Mash bread with fork after it has absorbed all milk. Remove from heat and cool. In a bowl, knead together the meat, onion, parsley, egg, olive oil, cheese and a tiny big of fresh nutmeg, the bread/milk mush, salt and pepper. Do not squeeze. When thoroughly combined, shape into 1 inch balls and roll in bread crumbs. Set aside. Heat vegetable oil in a large pan. When ready, add meatballs, one at a time in a single layer. Brown on all sides, turning carefully. Remove from heat. Remove as much fat as floats to the surface. Return to medium heat, add tomatoes and basil. Turn over meatballs once or twice in the sauce to coat. Cover and cook at a steady simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until the oil floats free of the tomatoes. Serve.

Note: this can be made several days in advance if stored in a air tight container in the refrigerator.