Chef Ludo Lefebvre's Italian Meatballs Have Two Secret Ingredients
Love and patience. Kidding! They're actual food-things.
In the latest episode of Ludo à la Maison, Chef Ludo Lefebvre and his guest, actress Valerie Bertinelli, roll up their sleeves and prepare classic Italian meatballs. Of course, there's no one way to make a meatball, and Lefebvre puts his own spin on the staple dish—one that involves a few key additions.
The recipe fits in with the whole theme of this season, which is to explore culinary traditions from other countries—specifically, ones that are part of Lefebvre's family DNA. The chef took a 23andMe test (the company is sponsoring his show) to gain some insight into his heritage, and he found that, in addition to being French, he's also Belgian, British, German, and—like his pal Valerie—Italian. "If you want to be a little bit more Italian, instead of saying 'voila' you can say 'allore,'" she tells Lefebvre. (The word translates to "so, well then.")
After prepping some tomato sauce (Lefebvre passes his tomatoes through a food mill to get the texture just right), the chef and Bertinelli begin the meatball-making process. Step one: mix some ground pork, veal, and beef together in a large bowl. Step two: "Express yourself!" By which chef Lefebvre means, add some extras like prosciutto and back fat. He also throws a few more traditional add-ons in there, like dried oregano, chili flakes, salt, fennel, and white bread crumbs. Step three: dial up the richness by whisking some eggs, milk, ricotta, and parmesan together and pouring it into the meat bowl. Step four: get your hands in there and mix it all together.
Lefebvre then shapes the meatballs, puts them in a pan with some grapeseed oil, and cooks them until they have "a nice coloration but are not too aggressive." (So, until they're lightly browned.) The last step: pouring that tomato sauce in the pan of meatballs, covering it, and putting it in the oven for around two hours. Allore!