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Playing Albondigas


For the Meatballs:
  • For the Meatballs:
  • 3/4 pound 80% lean ground beef
  • 3/4 pound ground pork
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup panko, homemade breadcrumbs or crushed/ground corn tortilla chips
  • Milk to moisten crumbs, about 1/4 cup
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, a couple small handfuls
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons each ground cumin, coriander and regular or smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Piquillo peppers in water, drained and finely chopped or 1 4-ounce jar pimientos, drained and finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons grated onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • About 1/2 cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley and/or cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • About 2 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
For the Tomato Sauce:
  • For the Tomato Sauce:
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • A fat pinch saffron
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes or hot paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 32-ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes


Serves: 4


Preheat oven to 425°F.
For the meatballs, combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl then roll into balls about 2 inches in diameter. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast 18-20 minutes, until browned.

For the sauce, warm stock and saffron to infuse the flavor into the stock. Heat olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat and stir in onions. Season with salt, add bay leaf and cook to soften onions, 5 minutes. Add chili flakes or hot paprika and garlic, and stir for 1 minute. Add saffron-infused stock and tomatoes, and simmer to thicken. Remove bay leaf, add roasted meatballs to sauce and serve.