Sicilian-Style Meatballs

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Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli say that dried currants and pine nuts make these meatballs distinctly Sicilian. Plus: More Italian Dishes 

Sicilian-Style Meatballs
Photo: © Andrew Purcell
Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
1 hrs 45 mins
Yield:
12

Ingredients

  • Two 28-ounce cans peeled Italian tomatoes, crushed

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 4 slices of white sandwich bread

  • 4 large eggs, beaten

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

  • 1 teaspoon minced marjoram

  • 2 pounds ground beef chuck

  • 1/2 cup dried currants

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts

  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving

  • 1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs

  • 2 cups vegetable oil, for frying

Directions

  1. Pour the tomatoes into a large enameled cast-iron casserole and crush them. Add the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, soak the bread in water until saturated. Squeeze out the water and transfer the bread to a large bowl. Mash the bread to a paste and stir in the eggs, garlic, parsley, marjoram, 1 tablespoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Mash until smooth. Add the chuck, currants, pine nuts and cheese and mix until combined. Add the bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon at a time, and knead until the mixture is firm enough to roll. Form the mixture into 36 meatballs (about 3 tablespoons each), tucking in the currants and pine nuts.

  3. In a large, nonstick skillet, heat the vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the meatballs in 2 batches and fry over moderate heat, turning, until browned and cooked through, about 12 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meatballs to a plate. Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve in bowls, passing more cheese at the table.

Suggested Pairing

These marjoram-inflected meatballs seem to have been created with the Sicilian red variety Nero d' Avola in mind.

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