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Restaurant Recipe: A16’s Meatball 

Wednesday, Apr 1 2015
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A16's "Polpette alla Nepolitana," or Neapolitan style meatballs, have been on the lunch menu and served Monday nights long before #meatballmonday was a thing — and rightfully so — and they're ridiculously delicious. Both the binder of breadcrumb, egg, and ricotta along with the roast-then-braise technique make for an ethereally tender texture that will redefine your idea of how a meatball should taste.

And now you can make these next-level meatballs at home tonight with the recipe below.

Ingredients

-10 ounces boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes and ground in a meat grinder or finely chopped in a food processor

-10 ounces beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes and ground in a meat grinder or finely chopped in a food processor

-6 ounces day-old country bread, torn into chunks and ground in a meat grinder or finely chopped in a food processor

-2 ounces pork fat, cut into 1-inch cubes and ground in a meat grinder or chilled in the freezer for 15 minutes and then finely chopped in a food processor 

-2 ounces prosciutto, cut into 1-inch cubes and ground in a meat grinder or chilled in the freezer for 15 minutes and then finely chopped in a food processor

-1 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

-1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt

-2 teaspoons dried oregano

-1½ teaspoons fennel seeds

-1 teaspoon dried chile flakes

-2/3 cup fresh ricotta, drained if necessary

-3 eggs, lightly beaten

-¼ cup whole milk

-1 (28-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes with juices

-Handful of fresh basil leaves

-Block of grana for grating

-Extra virgin olive oil for finishing

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 4000x02DA F. Coat 2 rimmed baking sheets with olive oil.

2. In a large bowl, combine the pork, beef, bread, pork fat, prosciutto, parsley, 1 tablespoon of the salt, oregano, fennel seeds, and chile flakes and mix with your hands until all of the ingredients are evenly distributed. Set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the ricotta, eggs, and milk just enough to break up any large curds of ricotta. Add the ricotta mixture to the ground meat mixture and mix lightly with your hands just until incorporated. The mixture should feel wet and tacky. Pinch off a small nugget of the mixture, flatten it into a disk, and cook it in a small sauté pan. Taste it and adjust the seasoning of the mixture with salt if needed. Form the mixture into 1½ inch balls each weighing about 2 ounces, and place on the prepared baking sheets. You should have about 30 meatballs.

4. Bake, rotating the sheets once from front to back, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are browned. Remove from the oven and lower the oven temperature to 3000x02DA.

5. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the remaining 2 teaspoons salt, and then pass the tomatoes and their juices through a food mill fitted with the medium plate. Alternatively, put the entire can of tomatoes in a large bowl, don an apron, and then squeeze the tomatoes into small pieces with your hands.

6. Pack the meatballs into 1 large roasting pan or 2 smaller roasting pans. Pour the tomato sauce over the meatballs, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and braise for 1-1½ hours or until the meatballs are tender and have absorbed some of the tomato sauce.

7. Pull the pans out of the oven and uncover. Distribute the basil leaves throughout the sauce.

8. For each serving, ladle meatballs with some of the sauce into a warmed bowl. Grate grana over the top, drizzle with olive oil to finish, and serve immediately.

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About The Author

Omar Mamoon

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