Can also be served with a simple fresh pasta with olive oil & pepper and don’t forget the bread!
Contributor: Mike Clark
Makes 26-30 meatballs
• 10 ounces boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes and ground in a meat grinder or finely chopped in a food processor
•10 ounces beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes and ground in a meat grinder or finely chopped in a food processor
• 6 ounces day-old country bread, torn into chunks and ground in a meat grinder or finely chopped in a food processor
• 2 ounces pork fat, cut into 1-inch cubes and ground in a meat grinder or chilled in the freezer for 15 minutes and then finely chopped in a food processor
• 2 ounces prosciutto (4 to 5 slices), cut into 1-inch cubes & ground in a meat grinder or chilled in the freezer for 15 minus and then finely chopped in a food processor
• 1 cup loosely packed, fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
• 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt (divided)
• 2 teaspoons dried oregano
• 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
• 1 teaspoon dried chile flakes
• 2/3 cup fresh ricotta, drained if necessary (if sitting in whey, drain overnight in cheesecloth)
• 3 eggs, lightly beaten
• 1/4 cup whole milk
• 1 (28-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes with juice
• Handful of fresh basil leaves
• Block of grana for grating
• Best-quality olive oil for finishing
• Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
• Coat 2 rimmed baking sheets with olive oil.
• In a large bowl, combine the pork, beef, bread, pork fat, prosciutto, parsley, 1 tablespoon of the salt, oregano, fennel seeds and chile flakes.
• Mix with your hands just until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Set aside.
• In a separate bowl, whisk together the ricotta, eggs and milk just enough to break up any large curds of ricotta.
• Add the ricotta mixture to the ground meat mixture and mix lightly with your hands just until incorporated. The mixture should feel wet and tacky.
• Pinch off a small piece, flatten it into a disk, and cook it in a small sauté pan.
• Taste and adjust the mixture’s seasoning with salt, if needed.
• Form the mixture into 1 1/2 -inch balls, each weighing about 2 ounces, and place on the prepared baking sheets. You should have about 30 meatballs.
• Bake, rotating the sheets once from front to back, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the meatballs are lightly browned.
• Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 300 degrees.
• Sprinkle the tomatoes with the remaining salt, and then pass the tomatoes and their juices through a food mill fitted with the medium plate.
• Alternatively, put the entire can of tomatoes and salt in a large bowl, don an apron and squeeze the tomatoes into small pieces with your hands.
• Pack the meatballs into 1 large roasting pan or 2 smaller roasting pans.
• Pour the tomato sauce over the meatballs, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and braise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the meatballs are tender and have absorbed some of the tomato sauce.
• Remove the pans from the oven and uncover. Distribute the basil leaves throughout the sauce.
• For each serving, ladle the meatballs with some of the sauce into a warmed bowl.
• Grate the grana over the top, drizzle with olive oil to finish and serve immediately.