Rao's is an Italian restaurant in New York famous for their amazing food and difficulty for booking a reservation. I've heard people book a year in advance for a table. Since I live in LA I can only enjoy their food through their jarred pasta sauces. You may have seen these unassuming pasta sauces at your local grocery store. They're pretty expensive, but they're the tastiest pasta sauces I've ever tried. Needless to say I was very excited to try this recipe...until I actually made it.
I'm still debating whether or not I really like this recipe. The meatballs were delicious on their own, but the sauce was not as tasty as I had hoped. However, together they made a pretty good weeknight meal. I actually found myself enjoying the meal the more I ate it, but it wasn't a love at first bite, party in my mouth feeling...woe is me. If the meal was insanely good like this, then I don't mind slaving away in the kitchen. Well, all was not lost because I got to play with my food and roll the meat into cute little meatballs.
The greatest part about this meal was the meatballs actually. The original recipe cooks them in oil but I broiled mine in the oven instead to make them a bit healthier. I don't think this is a meal I'll be craving and next time I want to play with my food I'll just stick to meatloaf.
**I learned a fancy trick to check the seasonings of your meatballs. Make a small bite size patty from your ground meat and cook it in a skillet to check the taste. That way you don't end up making a huge batch of bland meatballs.
Marinara – 1 1/2 cups - 2 servings with leftover meatballs for meatball subs :)
1 28 oz chento brand whole plum tomatoes with basil
1/8 cup fine quality olive oil
1 ounces fatback or salt pork, optional
1 1/2 tbs minced onion
1 garlic cloves minced
Salt to taste
3 leaves of fresh basil, torn
Pinch dried oregano
Pepper and sugar to taste
1. Remove tomatoes from can, reserving juice. Using your hands, crush the tomatoes, gently remove and discard the hard core from the stem end, and remove and discard any skin and tough membrane. Set aside
2. Put oil in a large, nonreactive saucepan over medium low heat. If using fatback, cut it into small pieces and add to pan. Saute for about 5 minutes or until all fat has been rendered. Remove and discard fatback.
3. Sautee onion and sauté for 3 minutes or until translucent and just beginning to brown. Stir in garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes, reserved juice and salt. Raise heat, and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to a very low simmer and cook for about 1 hour until flavors have combined and sauce is slightly thickened. (if you prefer thicker sauce, cook additional 15 minutes)
4. Stir in basil, oregano and pepper and cook for an additional minute. Remove from heat and adjust seasonings with salt, pepper and sugar.
1 pound ground turkey (15% fat)
1 large egg
1/2 cup pecorino romano cheese
3/4 tbs chopped Italian parsley
1 small garlic glove, peeled and minced
1 cups bread crumbs
1/4 to 1/2 cups lukewarm water
Salt and fresh ground pepper
1. Combine beef, veal, and pork in a large bowl. Add eggs, cheese, parsley, garlic and S&P to taste. Using your hands, blend ingredients together. Blend bread crumbs into meat mixture. Slowly add water, until the mixture is quite moist.
2. Shape dough into a one inch thick rectangle and cut into squares roughly the size you want your meatballs to be. (I made mine the size of golf balls)
3. Place them under a broiler in a broiler pan and broil for 10 minutes, (watch them carefully since they can burn until they get nice, brown and crispy) then flip for another 5 minutes
4. Lower cooked meatballs into simmering marinara sauce and cook for 15 minutes. Serve over pasta or on their own.