Sunday Supper: Mamma Gina's Meatballs

When you think of Italian food, spaghetti and meatballs are probably one of the first dishes that come to mind.  Every Italian mother and grandmother has their signature meatball recipe and their children will always boast that they are THE BEST.  The basic recipe is usually similar but each family will have a slight variation that makes it their own.  As an Italian, I have been eating meatballs my entire life and the recipe has been passed down to me from my mother who learned it from her mother.  I believe they are the best meatballs you will ever taste.  And, I’m right.  However, you might believe your mother’s meatballs are the best, and you’re right too.

Reason being, food is love, and love is in the eye of the beholder.  You love your mother’s meatballs simply because they are made by your mother.  She makes them for you with love and care and you taste that with every bite.  My mother’s meatball recipe is delicious however, as with any loving relationship, will require a bit of work.  They simmer for hours in a delicious red sauce; that is also an ingredient in the meatball.  So, make the sauce, make the meatballs, cook them together and enjoy their delicious marriage with a big plate of pasta.  Now, that’s amore!

Polpette Di Mamma (Mamma Gina's Meatballs)
Makes 19 meatballs

Serves 6 to 8
Prep time : 15 minutes        Total time: 1 hour or up to 2 hours

½ lb ground pork
½ lb ground veal
½ lb ground beef 85/15 blend
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 cup bread crumbs, preferably Italian seasoned
½ cup milk
½ cup brodo di mamma, cooled

  1. In a large bowl, hand mix all the ingredients.  The mixture will be very soft but resist the urge to add more bread crumbs, this makes a tender, melt in your mouth meatball!  Once all the ingredients are just combined, wet your hands and pinch ¼ cup of the mixture (3 oz) and roll into balls.  Place on a baking sheet.
  2. Carefully drop the meatballs into the sauce.  If the pot seems to be full, simply shimmy the pot back and forth to make more room.  If you stick a spoon in the pot you will break the meatballs apart.  Just shimmy!
  3. Allow to simmer in the sauce for 45 minutes or up to 2 hours. 

* Mamma Gina’s meatballs freeze exceptionally well.  Freeze on the baking sheet and then transfer to freezer bags.  Will keep up to a month.  When ready to cook, make Mamma’s brodo and drop frozen meatballs right into the sauce.  And don’t forget to shimmy!  Cook for 1 hour or up to two.