Fabio’s Mom’s Meatballs
1 lb. ground beef
4 oz. whole milk ricotta cheese
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 cups Fabio’s Tomato Sauce (see recipe on page 18)
Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Place all ingredients except the tomato sauce, the parsley, and the extra-virgin olive oil in a medium-size bowl and mix thoroughly by hand until they are completely combined and the mixture is uniformly firm.
Coat your hands in olive oil, and form balls slightly bigger than a golf ball.
Heat the tomato sauce in a saucepan over medium heat, then drop the meatballs into the sauce and add enough water to allow the sauce to reduce and simmer but not so much that the sauce is totally liquid. Cook for about 10 minutes on one side, then turn the meatballs over, add some more water, and cook for another 10 minutes, using a spoon to cover the meatballs with the sauce as they simmer.
Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes.
Serve with chopped parsley, salt and pepper, more Parmigiano-Reggiano, and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, of course!
TIP: Don’t waste expensive cuts of meat on meatballs! If prepared correctly, a cheaper cut of meat like beef shoulder/chuck, or even scraps will work perfectly.
Baked Stuffed Tomatoes
4 green tomatoes
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
¼ lb. mortadella, chopped
¼ lb. sausage crumbles, cooked (see note below)
½ cup pitted black olives, chopped
4 tbsp. olive oil
Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving
Preheat the oven to the highest broiler setting.
Cut the tops off the tomatoes. Scoop out the tomato flesh with a spoon and discard.
Combine the cheeses, meats, and olives in a bowl and mix well. Fill the hollowed-out tomatoes with the mixture, mounding the top. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over each tomato and place in an oven-safe pan.
Place the tomatoes under the broiler, and broil for 10–12 minutes, until they are golden brown and crusty.
Remove and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.
NOTE: To make sausage crumbles, buy Italian sausages, open the casings, and sauté the meat, breaking it up into little pieces.
From “Fabio’s Italian Kitchen” by Fabio Viviani. Copyright © 2013, VF Legacy, LLC. Published by Hyperion in April 2013. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.