Italian-Style Meatballs Diary

This Italian-style meatballs recipe was from The Food Lab by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. It yields a large amount of delicious, classic Italian-American meatballs. The meatballs are served with a rich tomato sauce.

It takes quite a bit of time to make the meatballs, so plan for making them on the weekend. You will have a lot of meatballs, but they can be served in several ways (e.g., with pasta or in meatball sandwiches topped with melted mozzarella cheese).

I also recently ate meatballs with tomato sauce at Davanti Enoteca in the little Italy neighborhood of Chicago that were served over a pile of sautéed Swiss chard. The acidic, garlicky greens perfectly cut the rich flavor of the meatballs. We sopped up the tomato sauce with artisan Italian bread. I think this is a great way to serve meatballs, as an alternative to having them over pasta.

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What I Would Change

This recipe calls for Marmite, which I did not have. I believe it is included in the recipe to add additional umami flavor. I left it out and the meatballs were still delicious. Umami in this recipe is conferred by the mashed anchovies and soy sauce.

If you want to serve the meatballs over sautéed greens such as Swiss chard, then you can do the following:

  1. Chop ½ onion and mince 2 cloves of garlic.
  2. Coarsely chop 1 bunch of greens.
  3. Sauté onion over medium-high heat until soft, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add garlic to pan and cook onion and garlic for 1 additional minute.
  5. Add chopped greens and cook until greens are completely wilted and tender (varies depending on greens, for instance kale takes a lot longer than swiss chard).
  6. Turn off heat and squeeze lemon juice (to taste) over the greens or add 1-2 teaspoons of sherry vinegar.

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