Spicy Italian Meatballs

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 30 min (includes chilling time)
  • Active: 55 min
  • Yield: 70 to 80 small meatballs
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1 pound ground beef

1 pound ground pork 

3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs 

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan 

1/2 cup ricotta cheese 

1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced 

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper 

1/4 teaspoon salt 

3 cloves garlic, grated on a rasp grater

2 whole eggs 

Splash of milk 

Freshly ground black pepper 

1/2 cup olive oil, for frying


3 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, diced 

Two 28-ounce cans tomato sauce 

1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced 

3 tablespoons tomato paste 

2 tablespoons sugar 

1/4 teaspoon salt 

Crushed red pepper, as needed

Freshly ground black pepper 


Special equipment:
a chafing dish, optional, and 70 to 80 frilly toothpicks
  1. For the meatballs: Combine the ground beef, pork, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, ricotta, parsley, crushed red pepper, salt, garlic, eggs, milk and black pepper in a bowl. Mash with your hands until thoroughly combined. Form into small balls and place on a baking sheet. Set in the fridge for 1 hour.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the meatballs in batches until nice and deep golden, then move them to a plate.
  3. For the sauce: Into the same skillet, add the garlic and onions and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, parsley, tomato paste, sugar, salt, crushed red pepper and black pepper. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Add the meatballs back to the skillet and simmer another 15 minutes. Keep warm until serving.
  5. Transfer to a chafing dish and serve with frilly toothpicks.
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