My dad's side of the family is ultra ultra Italian. They are truly FOB. I am one of the first generation born here, my dad travelled to the USA when he was a teenager...on a boat. I like to think this was super glamorous and a wild adventure...he usually looks at me like I'm crazy, and says "It was a boat." Thanks Dad.
I grew up going to Sunday dinners at my nonna & nonno's house in the Bronx. We would all sit at a long table in their garage during the summer, with the door open so all of us kids could play in the drive way. We would eat for hours. Literally, starting at 1pm we would eat until we left at 10pm. Braciole, calamari, bread from Arthur Ave, pasta, meatballs, pork, chicken cutlets, cheese, fresh fruit, salad, fennel, pastries and espresso. It was an all day eating event.
My mom also became an incredible Italian cook, and I've learned most of the Italian recipes that are a part of my normal roster from her. She makes incredible sauces, meatballs, baked zitis and more. I am really excited for Christmas Eve this year, she always does a huge traditional Italian seafood Christmas Eve dinner and this year I am going to help and learn all her recipes!
Her meatballs are one of my favorite things! I made them this weekend for Chako and Sarah (our favorite dinner date) and they came out so freaking good! They are addictive. Who even needs spaghetti?!?! I just want a plate of meat rolled into little balls and covered in sauce! Next time I need to make triple the amount so we can eat meatball subs the next day...oh my god I love meatballs!!!!!
Chako had to help me take pictures of this process, it's a real messy hands in the meat sort of thing...thanks Chako!!!!!
Look how fast my hands are smooshing!
This kind of looks scary...but it's amazing!
There's lots of balling...
Your sauce should be simmering...
Give them a long bath in sauce.
While they are in the sauce, eat some cheese!
Put on spaghetti and be happy happy lady (or dude)
Meatballs...like my ma makes
Serves 4 (Can easily be doubled or tripled!!)
1 lb chopped meat (I used all beef for this batch, but it's great to mix beef, veal and pork)
1 raw egg
1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese
1/4 cup flavored Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup of chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup warm milk
Garlic powder to taste (or smell really...)
Simmering Tomato sauce (recipe follows!)
Put all of your ingredients in a large bowl. Mix by hand until thoroughly combined, add more garlic powder to taste or smell (don't go too crazy). Also you can add more breadcrumbs if you'd like. Roll into medium sized meatballs. Place the meatballs in a baking pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray and broil for a few minutes on each side, til they are browned all the way around. Add them to your pot of simmering sauce and let sit for 1 1/2 hours. Taste sauce as it simmers to add salt or basil. Serve on top of pasta!
Simple Tomato Sauce
1 large onion
3 large garlic cloves
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cans of crushed tomatoes (I used Red Pack if I can't have homemade ones from the amazing Italian ladies...Red Pack is an awesome substitute!)
Half a tomato can of water
Dried sweet basil to taste
Salt to taste
Sautee the onion and garlic in the olive oil in a large pot. Add your tomatoes, half a tomato can of water and season with basil and salt. Bring to strong boil then reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer for at least an hour. You can make this early in the day and leave it in the pot covered, then return the sauce to a simmer an hour or so before you serve.