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  • 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • About 2 ounces prosciutto or pancetta, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh ricotta, drained
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • A handful grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano (about 1/4 cup), plus more to pass at table
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon (about 1/3 palmful) fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon (about 1/3 palmful) crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon (about 1/3 palmful) dried oregano or marjoram leaves, lightly crushed
  • About 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • About 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • A fat drizzle plus 2 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, 2 grated, 2 sliced
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup red dry wine
  • 1/2 cup beef or veal stock
  • 2 cups passata (Italian tomato purée) or tomato sauce
  • Warm crusty Italian bread


Serves: 4


Position a rack in the center of the oven; preheat to 475°F degrees.

In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and milk; set aside. In a large bowl, combine the meats; season with salt and pepper. Add the ricotta, parsley, 1/4 cup grated cheese, the egg, spices, a fat drizzle of EVOO and the grated garlic. Stir in the moistened breadcrumbs; mix to combine. Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions; divide each portion into thirds and roll each into a large meatball, to make 12 meatballs. Bake on a rimmed nonstick or parchment-lined baking sheet until just cooked through and slightly crispy, 16-18 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO over medium-high. Add the sliced garlic and grated onion, season and stir until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the tomato paste; stir one minute more. Add the wine; simmer until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the stock and passata then reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the meatballs, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Serve with sauce, cheese and bread for mopping.