I was so looking forward to this recipe. Over the years, I have tried many different meatball recipes and am always on the lookout for another one. Most of them start with a mix of meats and then add bread, eggs and cheese. This recipe only uses ground beef, which surprised me a little, but I was up to the challenge.
This recipe calls for a good quality bread to be soaked in milk over low heat until the bread has soaked up all of the milk. Then this is mashed until it is homogeneous. I loved this part, because that gave me an excuse to have Michael bring me home a loaf of Marconi bread. Now, for those of you not from St. Louis, let me explain. Marconi Bakery is one of the small Italian bakeries on the “Hill”, which is the Italian section of St. Louis. Its bread is just wonderful. It is dense on the inside with a crust that is toasty brown and sprinkled with sesame seeds. I always take it out of the white paper bag that it comes in and I first just inhale the aroma from the bread. It is one of the best smells I have ever encountered. The crust is thick and it demands to be slathered in butter and eaten quickly. I was very glad that the soaking bread took some time before it needed my attention, because I got a chance to indulge this simple pleasure. This is the type of bread made with a few simple ingredients and meant to be indulged in on the day it is made.
The rest of the ingredients are just onion, parsley, olive oil, and parmigiano-reggiano with nutmeg, salt and pepper. This is all mixed gently together and rolled into small balls. These are then rolled in breadcrumbs and then fried in oil until they are brown. The oil is removed from the pan and then chopped tomatoes added. This is cooked down for about a half an hour.
These meatballs are very flavorful, but I think I would have liked to cook them with the tomatoes for a longer time. The tomatoes didn’t seem to have time to pick up as much of the flavor as I would have liked. I served this over spaghetti, but mostly I ended up just eating the meatballs and tomatoes together. This didn’t bother me very much since I more than made up my carb quotient for the day with the bread!