Anna Restagno’s Italian Meatballs


Back in early 2015 I took a business trip to the Phoenix area. While I was there I had lunch with a former work associate and in the conversation we got talking about food and cooking. Long story short, he sent me the recipe for his grandmother’s meatballs. Sadly as with most recipes I tend to come across, it took awhile for me to make this. I printed it out, stuck it by the rest of the recipes on the counter (you know, the ones I’m going to make “soon”). In November 2015, I spilled something that got on the sheet and I decided to just take a picture of it. And it’s been there ever since. 

But not anymore! I am making a concerted effort to make the recipes that have been sitting around for awhile. Within the last week I made sure I had the ingredients (basically just buying the pork and tomato purée). Now, I had to push back making it by a week since the schedule changed but hey, after a year and a half, who’s counting another week?

In addition to the picture of the finished product, I added the picture of the recipe as I was sent it. As you can see, there are some decisions needed as quantities of spices are not included. I made no changes other than making decisions on how much of the spices I wanted to use. 

For the meatballs, I did not have Italian style bread crumbs so I added about a tablespoon of Italian seasoning. I also used a half teaspoon of salt and pepper and two generous tablespoons of fresh, minced garlic. For the cheese, I used fresh grated Parmesan. The quantity, un-grated, was about a tablespoon. I got 32 meatballs out of the recipe, each about a tablespoon. 

For the sauce, I bought plain tomato purée so I added a tablespoon of Italian seasoning. I also used a half teaspoon of salt and pepper along with a teaspoon of garlic powder. Plus the pinch of oregano. 

I put the sauce together and let it simmer. Unfortunately, I went outside and worked on taking Christmas lights down which meant I didn’t check it until I came in to add the meatballs. It went a little longer than an hour, which wasn’t really an issue. The issue was that despite it being on a low heat setting, it still was doing more than just simmering and it was burning on the bottom. Plus it had thickened up quite a bit. I added a half cup (appproximate) of water before adding the meatballs. 

Once the meatballs were added, they cooked for about an hour and a half before I turned the heat off and let them sit. I stirred occasionally to make sure the meatballs were cooking evenly. At one point I added some more water (about another half cup). I used my large dutch oven and did the cooking with the lid on. Since the meatballs were smaller I decided that they were probably done at the 1.5 hour mark and they could still cook/stay warm with the lid on and the heat off while the pasta cooked. 

Since this is a recipe for just meatballs. I added some pasta. I thought about doing spaghetti but didn’t feel like I had enough sauce (I like my sauces) so I used some penne (a mixture of whole wheat and regular). 

Overall, these were good but not over the top awesome. Since I’ve never made them before, nor have I tried them with the recipe originator making them, I don’t know if these are how they should taste or if somehow the burning of the sauce changed the flavor (which is entirely possible regardless). But, it was a fun experience and the girls enjoyed eat meatballs (!).  Plus I finally cleared another recipe off the list. 

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