World’s Best Meatballs

Cover image of La Cucina Italiana for April 2010

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.

4 thoughts on “World’s Best Meatballs

  • March 28, 2010 at 2:22 am

    May not be meatballs like I’m use to, but looks good, might have to give them a try. Thanks for the recipe!

  • March 28, 2010 at 9:37 am

    Betty, if you film it I will be happy to post it here. :_redpepper:

  • March 28, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    I second Buddah’s suggestion. Let’s see you make these bad boys! :_thumbsup:

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