Mama Nicoline’s Italian Meatballs

Prep Time: 1 Hours
Yields: 20-25 Golf ball size meatballs

Although there are meatball and sauce recipes emerging from every region of Italy, this particular version was brought to America by Mama Nicoline, or as her friends know her, Chef Rocco DiSpirito’s Mom. So if you were fortunate enough to taste the dish at the restaurant or see her make it on television, now you have the recipe.

1/3 cup chicken stock
¼ yellow onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup Italian flat leaf parsley, minced
½ pound ground beef
½ pound ground pork
½ pound ground veal
1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
2 eggs
¼ cup Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, grated
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
6 cups Mama’s marinara (see recipe below)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Place stock, onion, garlic, and parsley in a food processor to puree. In a large bowl, combine puree, all meats, breadcrumbs, eggs, cheese, pepper and salt. Use your hands to combine ingredients but do not over mix. It is best to test seasonings by frying a small patty of the mixture in a non-stick skillet and adjust seasonings if necessary. Roll meat into meatballs about the size of a golf ball or larger if you wish. Divide the olive oil into two heavy bottomed skillets and heat over medium high heat. Brown meatballs a few at a time until all are evenly browned, about 15 minutes per batch. While the meatballs are browning, heat the sauce to simmer in a heavy bottomed saucepot. Add meatballs and stirring occasionally, cook for about one hour. Be careful not to break meatballs. Serve over pasta or on hot French bread as a poboy sandwich topped with sauce.

Mama Nicoline’s Marinara Sauce

3 cloves garlic, minced
½ yellow onion, minced
3 tbsps olive oil
2 (28 ounce) cans tomato puree, Red Pack
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes, Red Pack
1 tbsp tomato paste, Red Pack
1 tsp sugar
¼ cup chopped basil leaves
pinch red pepper flakes
1 cup chicken stock
salt to taste

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onions and sauté until wilted, 3-5 minutes. Add all tomato products. Pour chicken stock into one empty 28 oz. can and then fill to the top with water. Add sugar, basil and pepper flakes to the tomato mixture. Bring to a low boil then reduce to simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook for one hour. Use with Mama Nicoline’s Italian Meatballs (above) or in any recipe calling for marinara.


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