Recipes for Busy Lawyers
Editor’s Note—This is a new series for our newsletter, send us the most delicious and nutritious recipes that you love to feed yourself or your family and we will share them!
Submitted by: Katherine M. Forster
This recipe makes approximately 36-40 meatballs. I like to cook some of them in sauce to serve with spaghetti and then sauté the remainder to use as pizza toppings (and chef snacks!). These are also delicious in sandwiches, and they freeze well. I have listed the specific meat mixture I like best, but you can mix and match to suit your preferences and dietary restrictions. For meat mixture:8 oz. beef sirloin8 oz. pork loin8 oz. veal shoulder2 links sweet Italian sausageFresh breadcrumbs made from one very soft white sandwich roll, crust removed1/3 C. whole milk2 large eggs3-4 cloves garlic, pressed4 oz. parmigiano reggiano, powdered on the rasp side of a box grater1/3 C. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra for garnishsalt and fresh ground black pepperFor the sauce:28-oz. can best quality Italian tomatoes, chopped with their juiceOne large onion, peeled and cut in half through the root end4 T. unsalted buttersalt and fresh ground black pepper to tastecrushed red pepper (optional)Step 1- Start the sauceCombine sauce ingredients over medium heat in a large, heavy, non-reactive braising or saute pan. Be careful not to overseason. Bring to a simmer, cover with lid slightly ajar, and simmer for approximately 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Discard onion. Pulse a few times with an immersion blender to puree some of the sauce, but be sure to leave plenty of tomato chunks for texture. Step 2 - Make the meatballsCombine the breadcrumbs and milk in a small bowl. Add more milk if needed to cover. Let stand for at least 10 minutes.Grind the sirloin, pork loin, and veal shoulder into a mixing bowl using the grinder attachment (fine setting) on a stand mixer. (If you do not have one of these, get one! Seriously, it is great. In a pinch, you could substitute pre-ground meat. If at all possible, have your butcher freshly grind the cuts you select and then package the ground meat very loosely.) Remove the casings on the Italian sausage, break up slightly, and add to the other meat. Whisk the eggs and garlic until blended; add to meat mixture.Using your hands, squeeze the excess milk out of the bread crumbs and add the crumbs to the meat mixture. Don’t worry if some milk ends up in the mix. Reserve the leftover milk.Add the parsley, salt to taste (it probably needs about a teaspoon), and a generous grinding of black pepper.
Using your hands, gently combine all ingredients. The mixture should be reasonably uniform, but do not overwork or squeeze it. This is where freshly ground meat gives you a big advantage, because you will not have to break up big chunks of densely packed ground meat.
Prepare a lightly greased cookie sheet large enough to hold all of the meatballs without touching. A quick spray of Pam should suffice for greasing.
Using a golf-ball sized ice cream/gelato scoop, spoon up enough meat mixture to make a ball roughly 1-1/4” in diameter. Lightly roll the ball between your hands to get a nice round shape and place on the cookie sheet. Dip your hands in the leftover milk every so often to prevent sticking.
Step 3 – Cook the meatballs
First, the sauce method: This will result in a tender meatball that cuts easily with a fork. Once meatballs are formed, add to the sauce in a single layer (do not overcrowd) and simmer with the lid on for approximately 25 minutes or until cooked through. You can check them by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the center of a ball—it should read at least 160˚. Remove meatballs to a platter, stir sauce and correct seasoning. If you are eating the meatballs with pasta, cook the pasta al dente according to package directions. Add salt but not oil to the cooking water! When just done, drain well, add pasta to sauce, and toss to coat. Top with meatballs and a sprinkling of finely chopped parsley. Pass freshly grated parmigiano reggiano at the table.
Now, the saute method: This will create a sturdier meatball with a nicely browned crust on the outside. You will need a large sauté pan and a pair of heat-resistant tongs. Heat 2 T. of olive oil in the pan over medium high heat until oil shimmers but is not smoking. Add meatballs in a single layer, leaving enough room in between to turn them. You may need to work in batches. Regulate heat and turn meatballs with tongs from time to time until evenly browned on the outside and cooked through. Drain on paper towels and enjoy before they all disappear!
Recipe adapted from Molly Wizenberg’s recipe published in Bon Appetit, October 2010.
Katherine Forster is WLALA's liaison to the Downtown Women's Center and is a partner at Munger, Tolles and Olsen, LLP.