Meatballs a la Mariano

Meatballs….there is nothing more to say.

Applewood smoked bacon (thick cut) small dice…. 1/2 lb

Italian pugliese bread, day old.. 1/2 loaf (about 5 cups)

Milk, whole – 2 cups

Beef, coarsely ground – 2 lbs

Pork, coarsely ground – 2 lbs

Lamb, coarsely ground – 1 lb

Veal, coarsely ground – 1 lb

Yellow onions, small dice – 1 1/2 cups

Garlic, minced. – 1 Tbsp

Italian parsley, minced – 1 Tbsp

Oregano, minced – 1 Tbsp

Cayenne pepper – 1 tsp

Kosher salt – 1 1/2 Tbsp

Black pepper, freshly ground – 1/2 tsp

Eggs, large – 3

Parmesan cheese, ‘Microplane’ fine grate – 1 cup

Mozzarella ’box grater’, small cut – 1 cup

Olive oil, extra virgin – for the pan

Mariano’s Marinara Sauce – 8 – 12 cups

1) Dice the bacon. Place ‘er in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat and render until she’s cooked ‘n caramelized (about 20 minutes). Drain off the fat, reserving the bacon.

2) While the bacon renders, tear the bread into chunks, place them in a bowl, and cover with milk to soak.

3) Combine the beef, pork, lamb and veal in a large mixing bowl. Add the onions, garlic, parsley, and oregano. Time to get your hands dirty! Go on and dig in to hand-mix it all together.

4) Sprinkle in the cayenne, salt, and pepper. Remember that cooked bacon over in the corner? That goes in now. Give it another gentle hand mix to distribute everything.

5) Grab a handful of the soaking bread and give a light squeeze to remove excess milk. Break it up over the meatball mixture and, you got it, gently hand mix all the goodness.

6) Break the eggs into a bowl, whisk ’em, and then add ’em to the mixture along with the reserved bacon fat. Lastly, add the Parmesan and mozzarella and… Mix!

NOW) We know you’re a genius, but take a bit of the mixture and cook it in a small sauté pan to make sure it tastes great. Adjust seasonings, if necessary, of course.

7) Preheat your oven to 425˚F. As we like big balls, we roll our mix into 1 1/2 – 2″ diameter meatballs. Place your balls on a baking sheet lightly coated with olive oil. Then pop ’em into the oven for 15-20 minutes.

8) Once properly cooked, transfer them into a pot of hot Marinara sauce. Simmer ’em for 20 minutes in order to pull all the flavors together.

Okay, genius, you’re now free to enjoy a kick-ass meatball sandwich, spaghetti and meatballs, or eat them just by themselves.

Prep Time: 45-60 minutes | Cook Time: 35 min | Yield: Lots!

This recipe is an excerpt from One True Vine Journal

 To purchase the One True Vine Journal, Volumes 001 or 002, visit the One True Vine website.


Submitted by Layer Cake Wines fan, Michael Laukert