‘Mama’ makes great meatballs
A search of the Internet failed to find the recipe for The Olive Garden’s meatballs, but it did pull up a recipe by Nicolina DiSpirito, 78, the mother of chef Rocco DiSpirito of “The Restaurant” television show on NBC. A former school cook, “Mama,” as she is fondly called, gets rave reviews for the her meatballs. She’s from San Nicola Baronia, Avellino, Italy. The accompanying recipe appears on www.statesman.com, the Web site of the Austin American-Statesman.
Nicolina DiSpirito’s Meatballs
For James Kobasko, Wheeling, W.Va., who wanted the recipe for The Olive Garden’s meatballs. From L.T., Penn Hills.
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 large sweet onion
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 1/2 pound ground veal
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 5 large eggs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmiagiano-Reggiano cheese
- 2 or 3 pinches of crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Marinara sauce
- Hot cooked spaghetti (optional)
Place the chicken stock, onion, garlic and parsley in a blender or food processor and puree. Set aside.
Combine the ground meats, bread crumbs, eggs, cheese, crushed red pepper, salt and the stock mixture in a large bowl. Mix lightly, using your hands, until uniform. Do not overmix.
Rub your hands with a little olive oil. Form the mixture into 2-ounce balls.
Heat about 1/2 inch of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the meatballs, turning once (do not crowd them). Drain and simmer in marinara sauce. Serve over spaghetti, if desired.
Makes about 24 meatballs.
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