SERVES 4 (two meatballs per person)
Ingredients for the meatballs (Metric & Imperial measurements):
Nutrition facts: Calories 650 per serving.
Ingredients for the meatballs (U.S. measurements):
Ingredients for the gravy (Metric & Imperial measurements):
Ingredients for the gravy (U.S. measurements):
Note: the above photograph is of the ingredients you need to prepare the gravy. The photograph also shows parsley, salt, black pepper and a jug of water; these four ingredients are added to the large saucepan at later stages, as shown in the recipe directions.
For the final stage:
We start preparing the meatballs combining all the ingredients (except the olive oil) in a large bowl. Add the eggs to the meat firstly.
Mix thoroughly to evenly distribute the eggs with the meat.
Add the Pecorino Romano cheese.
Add the breadcrumbs.
Add the chopped parsley and garlic.
Add the salt.
Finally, add the black pepper and mix thoroughly together in order to combine all the ingredients. At this stage I find easy to blend the ingredients by hand like working on a pasta dough.
Then, start making your balls. Remember to compress the ball with your hands so they are very compact and will not crack. This is important because a ball with any cracks, or not compact enough, may break during the shallow frying stage.
Now, heat the 60 ml of olive oil (1/4 cup) in a large frying pan and fry the meatballs over medium heat until golden brown.
If the meatballs stick to the bottom of the pan, you may use a non-stick frying pan or you can fry the meatballs two at a time and keep rolling them in the hot oil.
Place the meatballs on a new clean plate or a tray.
Do not discard the olive oil but filter it into a small bowl in order to remove the residue created when frying the meatballs.
Now, add the filtered oil to the cleaned frying pan because now we are going to prepare the gravy.
In the frying pan, heat the reserved oil, add the chopped onion and garlic and a sweat off for about 2 minutes.
Then, add the tomato purèe...
...and cook on medium heat for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
Then, add 150 ml (5/8 cup) of hot water to the frying pan and...
...cook for one minute, stirring. The gravy is done, so remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
Now, it's time to deal with the final stage of the recipe. In a large saucepan (also a casserole would do the job), add the chopped tomatoes and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.
Then, add the gravy (tomato purèe mixture) from the frying pan.
Add the reserved browned meatballs.
Cover with hot water. In my case, I used a very large saucepan so to cover the meatballs I needed 600 ml (1 pint - 2 1/2 cups) of water. A slightly smaller saucepan would probably require less water, I would say 400 ml (3/4 pint - 1 3/4 cups).
Add the chopped parsley.
Add a pinch of salt.
Add a pinch of black pepper.
Mix thoroughly, but carefully, with a wooden spoon, so as to not break the meatballs. Now, cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes, then...
...cover (leaving one side of the lid slightly open) and simmer for about 2 1/2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes to prevent sticking on bottom of the pan. Also, when doing that, turn the meatballs so the part that was in the top will get the next 20 minutes cooking facing the bottom and keep going like that until the end. After 1 1/2 hours simmering, check for seasoning; usually you need to add some salt.
Serve the meatballs on a plate along with crusty Italian bread and, of course, a good bottle of red wine.
Federico Pezzaioli is an ex-badass Italian Paratrooper on a mission - to make creating delicious authentic Italian food really easy. He researches, writes and photographs each recipe with the same attention to detail he used to apply to packing his parachute.
Dont' forget - if you have any questions about our recipes, you can ask Federico directly on our Facebook page. It's also the perfect place to share your love of Italian food, and get exclusive updates on new recipes. Buon appetito!