A family favorite, Rao’s — yes, you canalso enjoy these at Baldoria’s, if you are lucky!
Frankie Pellegrino, co-owner of New York’s Rao’sRestaurant, shares this memory when introducing Anna’s meatball recipe in Rao’scookbook:
Inmany southern Italian households, Sunday is meatball day. When I was a child, my father and I would steal the meatballs as fast asmy mother could fry them. Yet, Mom always managed to get a plateful to thetable! At Raos, Wednesday ismeatball night. When I arrive atthe restaurant,, the first thing I do is make off with a couple of meatballs asthey are being fried in the kitchen.. Guess Im still a kid at heart.
And, guess what, it’s still a tradition with the Pellegrino family. Thenight Peter and I first enjoyed “Anna’s Meatballs” at Baldoria, it was aWednesday, on our second trip to New York City to celebrate my working eyes! These were on the menu — Wednesday ismeatball night.
Anna & Frankie’s Raos Meatballs Polpettini
1 pound ground lean beef
½ pound ground veal
½ pound ground pork
2 large eggs
1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 ½ tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
½ small garlic clove, peeled and minced, optional
2 cups bread crumbs (see below+)
2 cups lukewarm water
Salt (preferably Kosher or Sea Salt) and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup fine-quality olive oil
- Combine beef, veal, and pork in a large bowl. Add eggs, cheese, parsley, garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Using your hands, blend ingredients together. Blend bread crumbs into meat mixture. Slowly add water, 1 cup at a time, until the mixture is quite moist.
- Shape meat mixture into balls (we usually make large, 2 ½- to 3-inch balls).
- Heat oil in a large sauté pan. When oil is very hot but not smoking, fry meatballs in batches. When bottom half of meatball is very brown and slightly crisp turn and cook top half. Remove from heat and drain on paper towels.*
- Lower cooked meatballs into simmering Marinara Sauce (see Salsa Marinara Rao’s) or Sunday Gravy (see Rao’s Sunday Gravy) and cook for 15 minutes. Serve over pasta or on their own.
+Breadcrumbs: for Rao’s stylebreadcrumbs, be sure to make your own. Using the highest quality Itallian breadyou can find, allow it to dry for at least two days. Then, grate, using ahandheld grater or a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Shake andpush the bread crumbs through a medium strainer to get an even texture.
Note: In placeof breadcrumbs, you can use stale Italian bread, white part only, which has beenlightly soaked in lukewarm water.
Yield: Makes28 meatballs.
*If you want to bake these ratherthan frying in oil, choose method #2 below, borrowed from family-favorite-unsauced-meatballs.
To brown the meatballs:
Method #1–In a skillet, brown themeatballs in the vegetable oil and them remove to a side dish while sautéingremaining meatballs.
Method #2–Preheat oven to 425°F. Place meatballs on a jelly- roll-type pan and bake 15 minutes.
Any questions about making Rao’s Meatballs at home, double-click here onPoppy, who has made them many, many times for us.
You can find this and related recipes by tapping here on the Home Cookin’ index.
Copyright © 1999-2005 S.H. Klock/ The Recipe Reader / at Home Cookin’.