About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« Beef Stew with Red Wine and Vegetables | Main | Winter Meatballs with Savoy Cabbage »

Meatballs and Tomatoes

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!

Comments (4)

Marcella Hazan:

Beth, If I get over the shock of seeing spaghetti & meatballs I'll comment on your post. I thought that kind of Italian-American dish had disappeared. I am too remote evidently from what in this country is still considered Italian cooking.
About the tomatoes: There seems to be a confusion about what I mean by "chopped" and about how long tomatoes should cook. Chopped does not mean the large chunks I see in your photo and in others. Of course they weren't cooked long enough to become a sauce. Chopped means taking a chef's knife to the tomatoes on a board and chop chopping until they become small bits, the way you would chop onion or parsley or garlic. They then must be cooked until the fat separates from them, 25 minutes on my burner, maybe 50 on yours. I remember when Doug made my tomato and butter sauce. His tomatoes were barely cut up and not fully cooked either and he complained about the sauce not being tomatoey enough.

Ahhhh...Marconi bread. Note to self, run over to Viviano's tomorrow morning to pay my veal tab and pick up a couple of loaves.
Beth, my mother always made her meatballs with just beef. My mother-in-law always mixed beef and pork in hers. I liked my mother's better. Probably a familiarity thing.

These meatballs look wonderful Beth!

Marcella - I suspect that when the recipe says 'chopped tomatoes' we North American cooks open up a can of chopped tomatoes. I know that I do. They are chopped on a rather large dice and can result in big chunks of tomato in the sauce.


I use this recipe for making the BEST meatloaf! Of course, I don't form the meat into balls, and add tomatoes, but form it into a loaf, cover it with thin sliced bacon and bake in the oven at 350 degrees.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 14, 2010 8:00 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Beef Stew with Red Wine and Vegetables.

The next post in this blog is Winter Meatballs with Savoy Cabbage.

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