Sicilian Meatballs

By ratherbeswimmin' on September 29, 2012

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Ingredients

    1. 6 slices white bread, torn into pieces
    2. 1 cup milk
    3. 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    4. 1 (28 ounce) cans san marzano tomatoes
    5. 1 (15 ounce) cans san marzano tomatoes
    6. salt
    7. pepper
    8. 2 1/2 lbs ground sirloin
    9. 6 garlic cloves, minced
    10. finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley ( a generous handful)
    11. 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    12. 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    13. 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
    14. 1 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
    15. 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted and chopped
    16. 1/4 cup currants
    17. 1 egg, lightly beaten
    18. 1 loaf ciabatta
    19. 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
    20. 1/4 cup fresh basil leaf, shredded

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Place the torn bread in a small bowl and pour the milk over it; set aside to soak.
  3. Place a roasting pan on the counter; add a healthy drizzle of oil, about 1 tablespoon.
  4. Add the canned tomatoes to the pan and crush with a potato masher or a wooden spoon.
  5. Season the tomatoes liberally with salt and pepper.
  6. In a large bowl, using your hands, combine the ground sirloin, the remaining tablespoon oil, the garlic, parsley, oregano, red pepper flakes, allspice, Parmigiano-Reggiano, pine nuts, currants, egg, and salt and pepper.
  7. Squeeze out the excess milk from the soaking bread (it should be loose and in small pieces), then add it to the meat mixture; discard the milk.
  8. Form the meatball mixture into 12 baseball-size balls, each about 3 inches in diameter, and place them in the roasting pan, nestling them into the tomatoes.
  9. Roast until the meatballs are brown and cooked through, about 30 minutes.
  10. Place the ciabatta, unwrapped, in the oven to heat when the meatballs are just about done.
  11. Tear the warm, crusty bread into large pieces.
  12. Remove the meatballs from the oven and arrange the torn pieces of bread in and around the meatballs and sauce.
  13. Stir the ricotta cheese together with the basil, season with salt and pepper, and pass at the table.
  14. Complement each serving of 2 large meatballs with 2-3 tablespoons of cool ricotta spooned along side.