Because we're about to celebrate 17 years in business (our anniversary is Valentines day!), we thought we'd share one of the recipes that's been with us since Day 1.
Our meatballs sparked a "Meatball Monday" trend for a few years way back, and they are still a favorite. You can order them from us along with the maccaronara kit and enjoy an A16 tradition at home. Or just make them at home by following our recipe below:
Adapted from A16 Food + Wine, Ten Speed Press, 2008
10 ounces ground pork
10 ounces ground beef (preferably 80/20 blend)
2 to 4 ounces pork fat (or 2 ounces prosciutto trimmings and 2 ounces pork fat)*
1 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2/3 cup fresh ricotta, drained if necessary, or 1/3 cup milk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
6 ounces day-old artisan bread, crusts cut off and pulsed in the food processor (about 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs; alternatively use 1 cup panko)
1 (28-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes, crushed
5 fresh basil leaves, plus extra for garnish
A block of Grana Padano or Parmesan, for grating
Extra-virgin olive oil, for finishing
1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Prepare a large roasting pan with olive oil.
2. In a large bowl, use your hands to mix together the pork, beef, fat, parsley, 2 teaspoons salt, oregano, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes. In a separate bowl, mix together the ricotta and eggs. Combine this mixture into the meat mixture until just incorporated, then add the breadcrumbs until just combined.
3. Form 30 balls about 1 1/2 inches in size and place on the prepared pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are browned on top. Remove the pan from the oven and lower the temperature to 300F.
4. Mix the remaining 1 teaspoon salt with the tomatoes and stir in the basil. Pour the tomatoes over the meatballs, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1 to 1½ hours or until the meatballs are tender
5. Serve the meatballs with sauce and use a Microplane rasp or fine cheese grater to grate cheese over the top. Garnish with extra basil leaves and a drizzle of olive oil.
*Ask your butcher for extra pork backfat. If it's not ground, you can freeze it into chunks and pulse it in a food processor. If you do not have extra fat, you can omit it. The meatballs will still be delicious without it.