Meatballs come in every shape and size. From small, golf ball-sized rounds used as the filling for a grinder to flattened disks many people grill and call hamburgers, there’s a meatball for every occasion. These tasty recipes combine tradition and innovation, creating the ultimate meatball meal.
Turkey Meatballs Over Angel Hair Pasta
This family recipe is one that restaurateur Frank Scibelli features on the menu of his Charlotte, North Carolina, restaurant, Mama Ricotta. He suggests garnishing the dish with crostini topped with fresh mozzarella.
4 slices white country bread, crusts removed and torn into 1-inch pieces.
½ cup packed parsley leaves
¼ cup packed sage leaves
¾ cup ricotta cheese
6 slices (about ⅛ pound) imported prosciutto, chopped
½ cup grated imported pecorino or Parmesan cheese, plus extra for shaving on top of the pasta
1 large egg
¼ cup half and half (optional)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to season the pasta water, to taste
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1¼ pounds ground turkey or chicken
1 pound ground pork
¼ cup vegetable or olive oil
1 pound angel hair pasta
3-4 cups marinara sauce
To make the meatballs: Preheat oven to 325°F. Place the bread, parsley and sage into a food processor and pulse to form medium-grain breadcrumbs, yields about 2 cups. Add the ricotta, prosciutto, pecorino, egg, half and half, salt and pepper and continue to pulse until just-blended.
In a medium bowl, combine the ground meat and the breadcrumb mixture and mix well. With your hands, form mixture into 2-inch meatballs, approximately 3 ounces each.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add several meatballs at a time, making sure not to overcrowd the pan and fry until golden brown on all sides. Transfer the seared meatballs to a baking dish and place in the preheated oven until the meatballs are cooked through, about 20 minutes.
To cook the pasta: While the meatballs are baking, bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with salt. Add the pasta to the boiling water and stir to prevent sticking. Cook the pasta until al dente, about 5 minutes, and then drain.
In a medium pot, heat the marinara sauce and add in the pasta, tossing until coated.
To serve: Divide the pasta among plates or bowls. Top with two meatballs and grate fresh pecorino on top. Serves 6.
Asian-style meatballs in lettuce wraps
Serve this pan-Asian dish with steamed rice or with a warm piece of naan, a leavened flatbread of India. As for what to drink, go with a brew. A malty Tsingtao from China, a chilled Kirin from Japan or a citrus-scented Singha from India would all make for a winning pairing.
1 pound ground beef chuck or bison
¼ cup finely chopped scallions, including green leaves
1 heaping tablespoon pine nuts
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 egg, beaten
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup canola oil or sesame oil, for frying
1 small head leaf lettuce, washed, core removed and leaves separated
Sriracha sauce, to taste
Combine the beef, scallions, pine nuts, sesame oil, soy sauce, egg and salt in a medium bowl and mix until well-incorporated. Using your hands, form mixture into 1½-inch meatballs
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Fry the meatballs on all sides until they’re golden brown and cooked through, about 12 minutes.
To serve, lay the lettuce leaves on a platter and place two meatballs in the center of each leaf. Sprinkle with Sriracha sauce and wrap the lettuce leaves around the meatballs. Serves 4.
For more meatball recipes and information about the meatball trend, click here.