Recipe by Phil Franco
----- Purpette a la Passula ----- Raisins in meatballs originated in Southern Italy, probably in either Sicily or Calabria. In Sicily, and (I expect) Calabria the use of raisins and pine nuts came from contact with Arabs, who use them extensively (remember that Sicily was an Arab Province for a time). Though the Arabs never dominated further north you do find raisins in savory recipes in old cookbooks. For example, raisins and pine nuts are included in a Roman sauteed spinach. Now you get garlic and salt, and perhaps a little red pepper. Though this might sound somewhat unlikely, it is quite traditional. The recipe is Calabrian.
Top Review by 4Leener
Right now I am giving it 5 stars without even making it! I know I will like it because it is what my Grandma used to make and we couldn't remember all the ingredients and after she passed, we couldn't find her recipe. After reading this, it all came back to me! THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart! NOTE: People thought I was insane when I told them my grandma's recipe called for raisins. She was Sicilian!
- 1 1⁄4 lbs lean beef or 1 1⁄4 lbs pork, ground
- 1 cup day-old Italian bread, crusts discarded and shredded 1/4 cup Minced parsley
- 2 eggs
- 3⁄4 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
- 1⁄2 cup raisins
- 1 cup freshly made tomato sauce
- 1⁄4 cup olive oil
Directions See How It's Made
- Soak bread in milk then drain it well.
- Soak the raisins in warm water for a half hour to revive them. Grind the meat and combine it with the bread, eggs, cheese, and parsley, seasoning to taste with salt. Make your meatballs, including a couple of raisins in the heart of each one. Sauté the meatballs in the olive oil, turning them so they brown on all sides, and when they're done stir in a cup or so of tomato sauce and heat through. Serve accompanied by broccoli rabe, and a moderately tannic red wine.