Joyce Goldstein's Sardinian Meatballs

LA Times via Wednesday Chef

I got this recipe from the Wednesday Chef who got it from the LA Times and I’ve been cooking it since at least 2006… that’s what my notes say. So it’s got to be a favorite.mb_detail

Here are some of my notes:

Cooked 6.06… I made the simple tomato sauce she suggested using my frozen San Marzano sauce. Made CI Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes to go with. That’s good-eatin’ comfort food… couldn’t put down my fork.
Cooked 4.08 – Just keeps on bein’ good. – see below
Cooked 3.11 — Dang all, these are good… why don’t I do them more often? Mixed about 1/4 ground beef and 3/4 sausage in the Kitchen Aid. The recipe doesn’t say to brown the balls, but I did. Used my chunky tomato sauce.

Why don’t I do them more often? As you readers of eats… know, I’m always up for trying new stuff, so that’s one reason. But then, I have several other good meatball recipes and really, how often does a meatball craving come around on the big wheel?
I’ve written about meatballs only twice on eats: Polly Dutton Meatballs in ‘aught six and Pappardelle with a ragu of tiny meatballs in 2008; so it’s been a while.

Generally I vary the ingredients for these Sardinian Meatballs each time, depending on whim or what I have on hand. Joyce Goldstein calls for all pork, but for this occasion, I used 3 Italian sausages from Golden Gate Meat — about 5/8 pound — and the balance ground beef. I’ve incorporated beef before, but never more than a quarter of a pound. They seemed a little heavier than usual this time. Just go with Joyce… pork rules, let it rule.

So, just assemble the ingredients and mix ‘em together. Its easy to mix by hand, but since I got my Kitchen Aid stand mixer, that is my preferred method; easy, clean and more thorough mixing without overmixing.

The recipe suggests that they be served over spaghetti or mashed potatoes. I have gone both ways, but today I was in the mood for spaghetti.

A word about spaghetti. For long pasta, I like thin spaghetti or store-bought fresh fettuccine or especially my homemade egg noodles. I find “regular spaghetti” too fat and heavy — just me. At my local Real Food market, they had shelves of DeCecco dried pasta, but no thin spaghetti. I could have walked two blocks to Cheese Plus, but instead bought a box of Bella Italia Capellini. That was fine (in more ways than one), but I still prefer thin spaghetti.

For sauce, I got out a container of roasted cherokee purple tomato sauce that I made and froze last fall. That stuff is serious good; rich and dark and sweet and dense and perfect. (I thought I had featured this sauce on eats, but no. Good subject for the next entry.)

The meatballs with their sauce were served over capellini with a side dish of braised carrots, a hunk of pecorino to grate and a very nice Simi Cabernet Sauvignon.

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Sardinian Meatballs
Serves 4 to 6

1 pound ground pork
1/4 cup dried or 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs [I almost always make my own breadcrumbs. This time from an Acme Herb Slab about three days old.]
6 tablespoons grated pecorino cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Give these ingredients an initial brief mix, then add

2 eggs [I prefer to lightly beat the eggs before adding.]

For the sauce:
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 3/4 cups canned tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup water
I always use my own tomato sauce, made with fresh tomatoes.

1. In a bowl, combine the pork, bread crumbs, eggs, cheese, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper and mixed together until smooth. Form the mixture into balls about 1 inch in diameter.

In a saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and water, mix well, and then add the meatballs.
Here, I depart from the recipe. I brown the meatballs lightly in olive oil, then pour my sauce over them to continue cooking.

4. Bring the sauce to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the meatballs are cooked through and tender, about 45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with mashed potatoes or spaghetti.

meatballs brown

meatballs brown

meatballs cook in tomato sauce

meatballs cook in tomato sauce

Yum. Good stuff.

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