This recipe was inspired by Rocco Dispirito when he appeared as a guest on a TV cooking show, and as soon as I saw the way he processed the ingredients in the blender before combining with the meats, I knew I wanted to give it a try.
Rocco said his mother always prepared a slurry in a blender to liquify some of the ingredients before adding them to the meat, breadcrumbs and the rest of the components.
Begin with 1.5 to 2 pounds of any combination of ground meats, ½ pound each: ground beef, ground pork, ground veal (or Ground turkey thigh). I do not use veal (ever) and prefer to mix beef and poultry together for meatballs or meatloaf. Place your choice of ground meat(s) in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Prepare a slurry in a food processor or blender of:
- 1/3 C Chicken stock
- 1/2 yellow Onion, roughly chopped
- ¼ C Italian parsley
- Garlic (3 or more – as many cloves as you would like)
- 2 Eggs
Pour slurry over the ground meats, and add:
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
For serving, you will also need 3-6 cups Marinara sauce
Place the chicken stock, onion, garlic, parsley , and eggs in a blender or food processor and purée. I prefer to use a food processor because it can be tricky getting it all out of the bottom of a blender.
In a large bowl, add the puréed stock mix to the meat, and add breadcrumbs, Parmigiano-Reggiano, red pepper flakes, and salt. Combine with both hands until mixture is uniform. Do not over mix.
Put a little olive oil on your hands and form mixture into balls a little larger than golf balls. They should be about 1/4 cup each, though if you prefer bigger or smaller, it will only affect the browning time.
Pour about 1/2-inch of extra virgin olive oil into a straight-sided, 10-inch-wide sauté pan and heat over medium-high flame. Add the meatballs to the pan (working in batches if necessary) and brown meatballs, turning once. This will take about 10-15 minutes. See alternative baking method below.
While the meatballs are browning, heat the marinara sauce in a stockpot over medium heat. Lift the meatballs out of the sauté pan with a slotted spoon and put them in the marinara sauce. Stir gently. Simmer for one hour.
Serve with a little extra Parmigiano-Reggiano sprinkled on top. Serve alone or over spaghetti (in which case, you will need the full 6 cups of marinara).
ALTERNATIVE: Instead of frying, I also like baking the meatballs in the oven. For this, I put about a cup of water in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish, then add the meatballs, one right next to the other. Bake for about 45 minutes (up to 1 hour in) a 450 degree oven. Remove from oven and allow them to cool down for at least 10 to 15 minutes in the pan, until the pan juices have been completely absorbed by the meatballs.