This is my own recipe which is in fact a triumvirate of my Father's, Mother's, and my own recipe!
I use fennel seed, which is what my mother, CarolAnn Sasso , used in her recipe. Then I use the raisins like my Neapolitan Father's family did. But I also like to add some red pepper flakes which is not traditionally used with fennel but I like it, so sue me why don't ya!
2 cups plain bread crumbs soaked in milk to make a mush or fresh homemade bread crumbs also soaked
2 lbs ground beef & pork (or whatever combo of meats you prefer)
1/3 cup raisins (golden are best) presoaked in a glass of wine or water that has been heated a for a minute in the microwave
¼ cup toasted pinenuts
¼ cup fresh parsley chopped fine
1 cup Parmesan (use the real thing here)
salt & pepper
1 egg (beaten)
2-3 garlic cloves grated
a little crushed red pepper to taste (optional)
a small handful of fennel seeds
1 pie plate with some flour for dredging
Make your sauce the day before, I usually make pizza with the sauce on this day since it requires so little sauce.
Soak bread in milk , toast nuts if needed, soak your raisins draining the wine off, you can use this for cooking later on. Now dump all of the ingredients together & mix by hand( I like to make this ahead of time and let it ferment in the fridge for a a few hours to add more flavor) if it is too dry add some milk.
Form into 2 inch or slightly larger balls.
Roll each in flour and dust off extra flour.
Fry in pan of olive oil just until brown on all sides but not cooked completely inside.
Drain on a brown paper bags or a rack as they will stick to paper towels.
Add to heated up sauce & cook on a low simmer with the lid on for 20 minutes only! Stir very carefully only when needed or else they will break up. I always remove any oil that is floating at the top as it is usually from the frying oil and not the meats.
To Serve Italian Style: You take the meatballs out and serve these separate from the pasta. Then you use the sauce to coat the pasta but not drown it. Serve some more sauce on the side for anyone who wants more.
Tip: Instead of turning the meatballs just shake the pan periodically and the finished ones will flip over! This takes practice but keep trying, you'll look so Mario Batali!
Left Overs Tip: If we have any left over meatballs I love to make Meatball Sandwiches. Cut the cold meatballs and in half. Place the meatball halves on an opened bun with some mozzarella and toast under the broiler until golden brown. Add some olive oil fold in half and mangia!
Recipe By: Ann Minard