Frankie’s meatballs (pasta sauce)

Frankie's meatballs (pasta sauce) | Meat Recipes Frankie
Frankie's meatballs (pasta sauce) | Meat Recipes Frankie

Frankie’s meatballs (pasta sauce)

This is the recipe with which my friend Frankie Imbergamo, from Boston, won the Emeril's Italian contest in August 2005. It's a great recipe and I am very happy to publish it as a tribute to Frankie's constant effort to keep the Italian cooking tradition alive. Frankie's original recipe shows ingredients for about 8 people, while the version here serves 4 (a total of 8 balls – two balls per person).
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Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4
Calories 650 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 400 grams (14 oz) large pasta like conchiglie or paccheri 
  • 500 grams (1.1 lb) minced beef
  • 2 Eggs (medium size)
  • 50 grams (2 oz) Breadcrumbs (finely grated)
  • 50 grams (2 oz) Pecorino Romano cheese (freshly grated) – alternatively you can use Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Clove of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 2 grams (1/2 tsp) Salt
  • 1 gram (1/2 tsp) Ground black pepper
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz) Extra virgin olive oil
  • A small handful of flat leaf parsley (finely chopped)

Ingredients for the gravy (Metric & Imperial measurements): 

  • 1 Small sized onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 Clove of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 60 grams (2 ½ oz) Tomato purèe
  • 450 grams (1 lb) Chopped tomatoes (usually 1 can)
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) Hot water for the gravy preparation

For the final stage:

  • 600 ml (1 pint – 2 1/2 cups) Hot water 
  • Salt and ground pepper for seasoning
  • A couple of sprigs of flat leaf parsley (finely chopped)

Instructions

  • We start preparing the meatballs combining all the ingredients (except the olive oil) in a large bowl. Add the eggs to the meat firstly.
    Frankie's meatballs (pasta sauce) | Meat Recipes
  • Mix thoroughly to evenly distribute the eggs with the meat.
    Frankie's meatballs (pasta sauce) | Meat Recipes
  • Add the Pecorino Romano cheese.
    Frankie's meatballs (pasta sauce) | Meat Recipes
  • Add the breadcrumbs.
    Frankie's meatballs (pasta sauce) | Meat Recipes
  • Add the chopped parsley and garlic.
    Frankie's meatballs (pasta sauce) | Meat Recipes
  • Add the salt.
    Frankie's meatballs (pasta sauce) | Meat Recipes
  • 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.
    Frankie's meatballs (pasta sauce) | Meat Recipes
  • 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.
    Frankie's meatballs (pasta sauce) | Meat Recipes
  • Now, heat the 60 ml olive oil (1/4 cup) in a large frying pan and fry the meatballs over medium heat until golden brown.
    Frankie's meatballs (pasta sauce) | Meat Recipes
  • 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.
    Frankie's meatballs (pasta sauce) | Meat Recipes
  • Place the meatballs on a new clean plate or a tray.
    Frankie's meatballs (pasta sauce) | Meat Recipes
  • Do not discard the olive oil but filter it into a small bowl in order to remove the residue created when frying the meatballs.
    Frankie's meatballs (pasta sauce) | Meat Recipes
  • Now, add the filtered oil to the cleaned frying pan because now we are going to prepare the gravy.
    Frankie's meatballs (pasta sauce) | Meat Recipes
  • In the frying pan, heat the reserved oil, add the chopped onion and garlic and a sweat off for about 2 minutes.
    Frankie's meatballs (pasta sauce) | Meat Recipes
  • Then, add the tomato purèe…
    Frankie's meatballs (pasta sauce) | Meat Recipes
  • …and cook on medium heat for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
    Frankie's meatballs (pasta sauce) | Meat Recipes
  • Then, add 150 ml (5/8 cup) of hot water to the frying pan and…
    Frankie's meatballs (pasta sauce) | Meat Recipes
  • …cook for one minute, stirring. The gravy is done, so remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
    Frankie's meatballs (pasta sauce) | Meat Recipes
  • 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.
    Frankie's meatballs (pasta sauce) | Meat Recipes
  • Then, add the gravy (tomato purèe mixture) from the frying pan.
    Frankie's meatballs (pasta sauce) | Meat Recipes
  • Add the reserved browned meatballs.
    Frankie's meatballs (pasta sauce) | Meat Recipes
  • 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).
    Frankie's meatballs (pasta sauce) | Meat Recipes
  • Add the chopped parsley.
    Frankie's meatballs (pasta sauce) | Meat Recipes
  • Add a pinch of salt.
    Frankie's meatballs (pasta sauce) | Meat Recipes
  • Add a pinch of black pepper.
    Frankie's meatballs (pasta sauce) | Meat Recipes
  • 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…
    Frankie's meatballs (pasta sauce) | Meat Recipes
  • …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.
    Frankie's meatballs (pasta sauce) | Meat Recipes
  • Now, serve the meatballs over al dente pasta (I used "paccheri" from Puglia region of Italy but large shells or rigatoni would do the job as well). Also, use the red sauce from the pan to coat the pasta. Finally, sprinkle with freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese (alternatively Parmesan cheese).
    Frankie's meatballs (pasta sauce) | Meat Recipes
  • Buon appetito and "many thanks" to Frankie for sharing his recipe and allowing me to publish it on the Italyum website.
    Frankie's meatballs (pasta sauce) | Meat Recipes Frankie
Enjoyed the recipe?Buy us a glass of wine!
Federico
Jeremy

Buon appetito! Thank you from Federico (recipe Maestro) and Jeremy (web Geek).

Nutrition

Calories: 650kcal
Keyword Meat
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Published
Categorised as Meat

By Federico

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.

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