Yesterday, I suddenly realized that today is my blog anniversary. Amazingly, What Did You Eat is officially two years old. When I started blogging, I didn't know if I would last a year, but here I am two years later. During that time, I've enjoyed preparing some great recipes, and sharing that experience with people all over the world. Most important, I've made friends with so many fellow bloggers--and what a talented and generous group of people they are too! There are also the people who don't have blogs, but visit here and leave comments. I haven't been good about answering my comments lately, but I appreciate them more than you can ever know. Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to visit me here. I'm sorry my blog's appearance hasn't been updated, but any attempt to spruce it up always winds up backfiring on me. I may be able to cook, but I'm a total nincompoop doing computer stuff. I still remember how much trouble I had installing WeatherPixie. Weatherpixie, for God's sake! It's supposed to be impossible to screw up something like that!
To celebrate my anniversary, I decided to make meatballs, rather than something sweet. I love them, and I'm tired of sweet things just now. While these meatballs aren't as good as my favorite recipe, I did enjoy them quite a bit. They're stuffed with dried currents and pine nuts, easy to make, and (drum roll) they're a Staff Favorite at Food & Wine magazine, which usually means a sure thing.
I think this recipe is a good fit with Weekend Herb Blogging, which was created by the wonderful Kalyn at
Kalyn's Kitchen, and she's hosting it this week! So, head over to her site on Monday and check out the big roundup of herby recipes around the world.
The featured herb for this recipe is flat-leaf parsley. Of course, you can use curly parsley if you prefer. Either way, you'll give the meatballs a fresh green taste that would be sorely missed if you left it out. Parsley is so common to cooking, we often take it for granted. It's our reliable and trusted herb friend.
(Food & Wine Magazine)
Two 28-ounce cans peeled Italian tomatoes, crushed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 slices of white sandwich bread
4 large eggs, beaten
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon minced marjoram
2 pounds ground beef chuck
1/2 cup dried currants
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
2 cups vegetable oil, for frying (if you decide to fry them. I baked mine)
Pour the tomatoes into a large enameled cast-iron casserole and crush them. Add the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, soak the bread in water until saturated. Squeeze out the water and transfer the bread to a large bowl. Mash the bread to a paste and stir in the eggs, garlic, parsley, marjoram, 1 tablespoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Mash until smooth. Add the chuck, currants, pine nuts and cheese and mix until combined. Add the bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon at a time, and knead until the mixture is firm enough to roll. Form the mixture into 36 meatballs (about 3 tablespoons each), tucking in the currants and pine nuts. I made a test meatballs and zapped it in the microwave for about 30 seconds, to check the flavors. It needed more salt.
Place the meatballs in a rimmed pan, sprayed with vegetable cooking oil (like Pam). Cook them in a preheated 400 degree F oven for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees F, and cook for around 10 minutes more. Check the meatballs several times to see if they are cooked by pressing them to see if they feel firmer. You ou can always take one out and test it by eating it. Fun! Don't overcook them! Transfer the meatballs to a plate. Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve in bowls, passing more cheese at the table.
Or you can cook them like this:
In a large, nonstick skillet, heat the vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the meatballs in 2 batches and fry over moderate heat, turning, until browned and cooked through, about 12 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meatballs to a plate. Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve in bowls, passing more cheese at the table.