What: Italian Meatballs
Where: The Art of Simple Food
Who: Alice Waters
The secret to these wonderfully moist meatballs is truly the simple method of soaking the bread in milk. I used gluten-free bread and almond milk with perfect result. The other secret is to bake them at a high temperature for a short time (450° for 6 minutes). Turns out I’ve been torturing mine with the low-and-slow version all these years.
Waters calls for using both ground beef and ground pork shoulder, but I did not have pork so used all beef. As is common in her directions, she does not specify the amount of salt to use. Since there is a total of 1.75 pounds of meat in the recipe, I used 1 3/4 teaspoons of salt (1 teaspoon per pound of meat is a good general rule for any recipe).
Since Waters recommended a ping-pong size, I used a medium cookie scoop to shape the meatballs. This made it a fast and easy job. In one of her Variations, she recommends adding 2 garlic cloves, mashed, and 2-3 Tablespoons red or white wine to the meat. I used white wine, as it was what I had. She also lists how you can easily transform the recipe for a lamb meatball with cumin and coriander.
We ate the Italian version with tomato sauce and gluten-free spaghetti, as she suggests, and also enjoyed them simply over sautéed kale and parmesan. Waters mentions, “Sometimes I make them a bit smaller, roll them while still hot in grated Parmesan cheese, and serve them as an hors d’oeuvre.”
Waters says the recipe serves 4. I counted, and it makes approximately 32 ping-pong sized meatballs.