I saw this Italian magazine come through the Post Office where I work the other day, and that Meatball picture and caption, “Make the World’s Best Meatballs” caught my eye. I knew I had to hunt it down. It came onto the magazine stands on Feb 25. I am no chef, but I wanted to share what appears to be a spicy meatball recipe.
The dish is called, “Polpette di fagioli rossi in salsa piccante”. Remember this is an Italian magazine, but it has a translation that surprised me. It is called, “Red Bean Meatballs in Spicy Sauce”. Now my question is how can MEATballs be made of red beans? Now it does have 7 ounces of pancetta in the recipe, which is pretty much Italy’s version of bacon. 7 ounces compared to 1 1/2 cups of red beans. Not sure this is exactly MEATballs, but only one way to give it ago and that is to make it, right? Well, I might give it a try, but I am more likely to butcher it, so the challenge is to find the right person for this undertaking. Any takers?
Here are the ingredients:
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 red bell pepper, cored and finally chopped
1/2 celery rib, cut into 1/4″ dice
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 fresh chile peppers, preferably arbol, (yeah right, not with this group)
1 tsp tomato paste
1 garlic clove
fine sea salt
7 oz pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice
11/2 cups red beans (from 2 15-ounce cans), rinsed and drained
1 large egg white
1/2 cup semolina flour
1 large whole egg
1/4 cup canola oil
In a small saucepan combine vegetable broth, bell pepper, celery, 3 tbsp olive oil, chile peppers, tomato paste, garlic and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Remove and discard garlic; remove sauce from heat.
Brown pancetta in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, about 8 minutes. Drain fat. In a food processor, puree beans; transfer ro a large bowl. Add pancetta, remaining tablespoon of olive oil, egg white and 1/4 teaspoon of salt; blend with your hands until just combined well (do not overmix). Form 1-tablespoon portions into 30 (1-inch) balls.
Put flour in a shallow bowl. Lightly beat whole egg in another shallow bowl. Dip 1 ball into egg, letting excess drip off, then dredge in flour to lightly coat. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining balls. Warm sauce over low heat.
In a large saucepan, heat canola oil over medium-heat. Fry balls, in batches, turning, until a dark golden crust has formed on the outside, about 3 minutes per batch. Serve with sauce.
45 minutes- 6 servings.