The meatballs are a delight for young and old. Today, they represent a main tasty dish that, when accompanied by bread or pasta, becomes a real delicacy. The origin of the delicious meatballs is still unknown. Still, contrary to what you can imagine, they are not Italian: the most accredited sources consider them originating in Persia: Kofta, typical Middle Eastern meatballs derive their name from the Persian kofte, which means “beaten meat”. With the Arab occupation of Persia, the meatballs spread throughout the Middle East and then arrived later in Europe, with the Arab conquest of Spain during the 8th century. They were born as a poor dish. Their first recipe appeared in the 15th century, thanks to the Book of Coquinaria Art by Maestro Martino, a cook of the then Cameroonian Patriarch of Aquileia. Pellegrino Artusi, on the other hand, in his manual “Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well” of 1881, writes that meatballs are processed leftover meat mixed with eggs, herbs, and stale bread. In some cases, eggs were mixed with the remains of bread and potatoes, without using the meat, which had a specific cost and what came out of it, were the so-called “meatballs of famine”. Of course, there are many variations of these recipes, here is ours:
Ingredients for 28 meatballs:
600 grams. Ground meat
(Ours is 50% beef and 50% pork meat)
2 tbsp of sugar
30 grams. Of Grated Parmesan cheese
20 grams. Of grated Pecorino
100 grams. Of Bread
800ml. Tomato purée
Sunflower seeds oil to fried
4 tbsp of olive oil for the tomato sauce
Put the minced meat and the eggs in a bowl.
Add salt, black pepper, and sugar.
Then add the grated Parmesan cheese and pecorino cheese.
Also, add the bread crumb, softened previously with water.
Mix all the ingredients well until you get a soft but compact dough.
From medium-sized balls and place them on a plate.
Meanwhile, fill a frying pan with oil and heat the oil. Put the meatballs in the pan as soon as the oil is hot, and keep them cooking for a short time on each side.
Then in a pot, add the tomato sauce with a bit of oil let its flavor until it boils.
If you love garlic – you can add it to the tomato sauce /in the pot, add the olive oil and the garlic cloves, fry them a bit till gold, and pour the tomato sauce over.
Once all the meatballs are ready, add them to the sauce and continue cooking over a gentle flame for 30 minutes, turning the meatballs from time to time.
As Giovanna says, the sauce must dry as in the picture.
And here they are, our meatballs with sauce, ready to be savored with spaghetti, penne, or accompanied by fries or peas.
P.S. My toddler and his cousins are mad about their nonna meatballs.
Here are other meatballs recipes: