Friday, October 7, 2011

Sunday Family Dinner - Roman Style Meatballs

Made with ground beef, pork and bits of prosciutto, these hearty Roman meatballs are simmered in a tomato sauce and paired with Gnocchi alla Romana (see recipe in Lindaraxa). They go well also with spaghetti or served on their own with crusty bread and a green salad.

To ensure tender meatballs, don’t overwork the ingredients; mix them gently until just combined.

The original recipe for the meatballs comes from Williams Sonoma. If you want to use their recipe for the gnocchi go here.  The one on my blog has been adapted from Marcella Hazan.


1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs

1/2 cup milk

4 oz. finely chopped prosciutto

1 lb. ground beef

1 lb. ground pork

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 tsp. finely chopped fresh oregano

6 Tbs. finely chopped fresh basil

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more, to taste

1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste

5 Tbs. olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes with juices (I use Pomi brand)

Gnocchi alla Romana for serving (see Lindaraxa)) or spaghetti


In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs and milk and let stand for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the prosciutto, ground beef, pork, eggs, cheese, parsley, oregano, 3 Tbs. of the basil, 3 of the minced garlic cloves, the 1 tsp. salt and the 1/2 tsp. pepper. Add the soaked bread crumbs and mix gently until combined. Divide the meat mixture into 1/4-cup portions and roll into balls. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Working in 2 batches, brown the meatballs on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate.

In the same pan over medium heat, warm the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the remaining 2 minced garlic cloves and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and their juices, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Stir in the remaining 3 Tbs. basil.

Add the meatballs to the pan and cook, turning occasionally and basting with the sauce, until cooked through, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a platter and serve immediately with the gnocchi alla Romana alongside.  You can also serve with spaghetti. 

Williams-Sonoma Kitchen


  1. I just found your blog today, I am enjoying it. I live on a lake in Va. ( with a pontoon boat!) and in Miami Beach in the winter. I cook but not with your flair, I have bookmarked many recipes to try.

  2. Mmmm, what a great recipe, the prosciitto and basil? Wonderful additions to any recipe for meatballs.



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