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Morello's Meatballs


The secret to chef Kevin Garcia’s meatballs at his restaurant Morello is thick, decadent brioche bread used as breadcrumbs. He also likes to make his a day advance and let them sit in the sauce before he serves them.

"Although not scientifically proven, meatballs usually taste better the next day, [because] they have time to absorb the flavor of the tomato braise," he tells us.

Click here to see How to Make a Better Meatball.

Ingredients

For the meatballs

  • 1/2 Pound ground beef
  • 1/2 Pound ground veal
  • 1/2 Pound ground pork
  • 1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Brioche rolls, torn up and soaked in milk
  • 5 leaves fresh sage, chopped
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed

For the sauce

  • 12 Cups tomato purée
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 Cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 Cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 Teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 small red onion, julienned

For serving

  • 4 Tablespoons grated Fontina cheese
  • 4 slices Tuscan bread
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Preparation

Step 1

Place a rack in lower third of oven preheat to 500°. Set aside ½ cup cilantro for making the sauce finely chop remaining ½ cup cilantro. Lightly beat egg in a medium bowl to blend. Add panko, cumin, 1 Tbsp. oil, 2 tsp. sugar, and 1½ tsp. Diamond Crystal or 1 tsp. Morton kosher salt and stir until panko softens and turns pasty. Finely grate 3 garlic cloves and 1 chile into mixture, add chopped cilantro, and mix well to combine. Using your hands, mix in pork until evenly distributed.

Step 2

Toss onions with 1 Tbsp. oil on a large rimmed baking sheet season with salt and pepper. Roast until wedges are well charred underneath, about 10 minutes.

Step 3

While the onions are cooking, divide pork mixture into eight pieces and roll each into a 2”-diameter ball.

Step 4

Using a metal spatula, turn onion wedges over and scoot them toward edges of baking sheet to make room for meatballs. Arrange meatballs in the center, spacing out evenly. Return baking sheet to oven and roast until meatballs are browned and spring back when gently pressed and onions are well charred on the other side, about 10 minutes.

Step 5

Meanwhile, remove stem from remaining chile and split in half lengthwise. Place in a blender and add orange juice, lime juice, reserved ½ cup cilantro, remaining garlic clove, ⅓ cup oil, 2 tsp. sugar, and 1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt blend until mostly smooth but still specked with herbs. Transfer sauce to a small bowl.

Step 6

Divide rice among bowls and top with meatballs and onions, then plantain chips and more cilantro sprigs. Serve with sauce alongside.

How would you rate Mojo Meatballs?

Dang Molly. Amazing recipe, easy, impressive & tons of flava!! Although orange & lime are traditional, I love the ideA of using grapefruit in place of orange & may try that next time. Yum!!

As good as everyone says! I used a little less than half the sugar, and I didn’t have enough cilantro for the sauce so used half parsley, but otherwise made it as is. Amazing flavor, super bright and delicious. Served with jasmine rice and a handful of spinach.

Question - would the sauce with without cilantro? I’m allergic to it. Thanks.

Made these with lamb because that’s what I had. I roasted some red peppers along with the onions and some sweet potato coins because I had no plantains. Didn’t bother with the rice. The mojo sauce is fantastic and the meatballs have great flavour/texture. I think I’ll make a batch of sauce to use as salad dressing, I have some arugula and romaine to use up. Great recipe and I will make it again.

I've been making these since April and they're always a huge hit! The green sauce is amazing and the spices in the meatballs are perfect. I usually make them with beef, although I've done it with turkey, and also a combination of the two - all delicious. I've served the meatballs as the recipe suggests which is amazing, but I've also experimented with other combinations I could recommend, including serving these meatballs with the yogurt layered flatbreads from smitten kitchen and also adding some tahini sauce.

This is a go to recipe- easy, flavorful and plays well with lots of different veggies and starch. I like habanero in the sauce!

This is one of my favorite recipes and it makes for good leftovers. I use grapefruit instead of orange and if you have extra dressing it is great on a salad.

This was very quick and easy to make and altogether presented a rich combination of textures and flavours in a filling meal. The sauce was well balanced between the sweetness of the citrus/sugar, the warmth of the pepper (I used jalapeño), with a fresh bite of the garlic and cilantro in the background. Every note was interestingly complementary with nothing really "out front". The plantain chips are a fun texture addition to the softness of the meat and rice and the meat was well-seasoned and juicy with a tad bit of crisp on the outside.

Amazing recipe always a killer ! Great job Molly

Moist, flavourful, juicy. loved this recipe!

This was great! Granted I had to make some changes because #quarantine, but still delicious. I agree with another commenter that Cuban food isn't typically spicy but is probably a nice addition here. I didn't have any peppers so I left them out anyway. I also cut back on the sugar in the entire recipe and left the sugar out entirely in the meatballs and they were still delicious. I did add a couple tablespoons of finely chopped red onion to the meatballs. I also made them with beef and followed the cooking instructions. Great recipe overall!

Holy cow was this good. Like many other reviewers, I cut the sugar in the sauce and in the meatballs, in half and both parts still tasted absolutely fabulous. I had two little, rogue, thai chillies hanging out in my fridge so I subbed those for the jalapeno/serranos that I didn’t have. I also used GF panko bread crumbs and everything turned out perfect. This recipe will definitely be going into my “faves” pile to make again, and again.

I used ground chicken instead of pork and it was absolutely delicious! I think next time though I'll try with the pork. As some other reviewers have pointed out, it was a litttttle too sweet. I halved the sugar and even still felt overwhelmed with sweetness. I think next time Iɽ only rely on the natural sweetness from the orange (and it could just be that the orange I used was super sweet) and go from there. I also would've liked the mojo sauce to be a bit more spicy as well -- Iɽ add another Serrano pepper next time. But these are all minor adjustments to taste in an otherwise sturdy weeknight recipe!

Perfect recipe. This will go into my regular rotation.

This sauce is amazing and really useful beyond this recipe. If you do cut any seeds out of the peppers, I would also cut back on the sugar. Our peppers weren’t spicy enough to counteract that sweetness and it was a sweeter dish than preferable (but still a real treat).


Evelyn and Judi Rose

British food writer Evelyn Rose was the authority on Jewish cuisine as the food editor of the UK’s oldest Jewish newsletter, the Jewish Chronicle, for over thirty years and author of The New Complete International Jewish Cookbook. She was awarded an MBE in 1989 and was an Honorary Life Fellow of the Institute of Home Economics. She died in May 2003. Her daughter, Judi, cooked alongside her for over 30 years and they created two cookbooks together, including Mother and Daughter Jewish Cooking in 2000. Judi lives in London and New York and is also a food writer, consultant, and culinary expert.


Giada De Laurentiis Just Shared a Unique Meatball Recipe Inspired by Her Trip to Rome

Ever since Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay went to Rome together, we’ve been having severe FOMO. In case you missed it, their new show Bobby and Giada in Italy just dropped on discovery+ this week. And while we weren’t able to actually eat our way through Italy with the two foodies, we were gifted with some pretty incredible recipes, which we’ll gladly take. TBH, we’ve always considered De Laurentiis our queen of pasta, but she’s quickly proving to be the queen of meatballs, too. De Laurentiis has shared multiple meatball recipes lately that are unique and delicious &mdash and her latest meatball concoction has us singing her praises: Mortadella Meatballs with Pistachio Pesto. Trust us when we say you’ll want to add this to your regular dinner recipes rotation.

“One of @Giadadelaurentiis’ all-time favorite dishes in Rome? The Mortadella Pistachio meatballs at @dillaroma! She learned how to cook them in episode 1 of Bobby and Giada in Italy, and now she’s got a recipe for us all to try them at home. And they ARE SO GOOD,” De Laurentiis’ Instagram food account @thegiadzy wrote.

Inspired by one of her favorite Italian restaurants, the chef set out to create a meatball dish that had a ton of flavor. Enter: Mortadella. The creamy pistachio pesto sauce, on the other hand, was included by De Laurentiis to create a balance of sweet and creamy.

Thanks to the chef, you can have this taste of Rome with a single bite of the meatballs (no flight necessary), and it only takes about half an hour to complete.

Of course, De Laurentiis didn’t get her title as our pasta queen for nothing, On her website she mentioned that these meatballs can also be paired with &mdash you guessed it, pasta.

Our mission at SheKnows is to empower and inspire women, and we only feature products we think you&rsquoll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale.


Korean Barbecue-Style Meatballs

Julia Gartland for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne.

These meatballs, inspired by traditional Korean barbecue, bring the savory-sweet flavors of caramelized meat without the need for a grill. As the meatballs bake, the soy sauce marries the garlic and scallions to create a glaze. This meatball mixture can be made ahead and left to marinate in the fridge for 3 hours or even overnight. Use ground beef that is 85 percent lean meat, 15 percent fat, or 80 percent lean and 20 percent fat for juicier meatballs. The Ritz crackers here make for a more tender meatball, but feel free to substitute plain dry bread crumbs. The meatballs are tasty on their own, but for a simple dipping sauce, combine 2 tablespoons soy sauce and 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar. Serve over steamed rice with kimchi, or as a sandwich with mayonnaise or marinara sauce.


Fresh, unwashed morels should be stored in a paper bag and used as quickly as possible. You can also store them in the fridge for up to a week, but this can also dry them out and alter the texture.

To prolong the life of your morels, you can dry them by laying them out in the sunlight and rotating them. Dried morels will last up to six months stored in an airtight container. When you&aposre ready to use them, simply tap them with some water and wait. Pinch them a few times until they are plump and ready to use. Dried morels can also be frozen, and thawed for use in soups or purees.


Fettuccine Pasta Morello

Boil the noodles in salt water. Add a little oil (no lid). Boil vigorously about six to eight minutes. Do not overcook.

Rinse off in warm water. Strain and set aside.

In a saute pan, saute the onion, garlic, mushrooms and morels in the butter.

Add the noodles and cream and cook, stirring occasionally, for four minutes.

Add the parsley, mushrooms, salt, pepper and thyme. Mix to combine.

Add the cheese, stir for one minute, and serve.

Kashrut Instructions (Courtesy of OU Kosher)

Aphids, thrips and other insects may often be found on the leaves and stems of fresh herbs such as chives, basil, cilantro, dill, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, and thyme. Insects tend to nestle in the crevices between the leaves and branches of herbs. These insects can curl up and stick to the leaf once they come in contact with water.

Recommendation for home preparation: In order to determine if a particular bunch of herbs is infested prior to washing, bang it several times over a white cloth. This is most important when checking oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme. If only one or two insects are found proceed with the steps below. If three or more insects are detected in a particular bunch of herbs it should not be used.

Inspection: Soak herbs in a solution of cold water and vegetable wash. The proper amount of vegetable wash has been added when some bubbles are observed in the water. (In the absence of vegetable wash, several drops of concentrated unscented liquid detergent may be used. However, for health reasons, care must be taken to thoroughly rinse off the soapy solution.)

&bull Agitate the herbs in the soapy water, in order to loosen the sticking excretion of the bugs.

&bull Using a heavy stream of water, thoroughly wash off the soap and other foreign matter from the herbs.

&bull Check both sides of each leaf under direct light.

&bull If one or two insects are found, rewash the herbs.

&bull If any insects are found after repeating the agitation process twice, the entire bunch must be discarded.

Please Note: Curly leaf parsley is very difficult to check. It is therefore recommended that only flat leaf parsley be used.


3. Breadcrumbs

The secret to chef Kevin Garcia’s meatballs at his restaurant Morello is thick, decadent brioche bread used as breadcrumbs. Garcia believes in an 80/20 ratio of meat to fat, and warns not to overwork your meat mixture. By overworking it, you force out the air and create a dense meatball. He also likes to make his a day advance and let them sit in the sauce before he serves them.

"Although not scientifically proven, meatballs usually taste better the next day, [because] they have time to absorb the flavor of the tomato braise," he tells us.


Preparation

For the pomodoro sauce:

Place the olive oil in a sauce pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and a large pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables soften, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the chili flakes and tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.

Tie the oregano and thyme together with a piece of butchers twine then add it to the sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook over medium low heat for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the herb bundle and purée on low to preserve the red color. Stir in some torn or chopped basil then set aside to keep warm.

For the meatballs:

Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add olive oil. Add the onions and garlic with a pinch of salt and cook until softened and translucent, 5 minutes. Remove from the heat to cool slightly.

In a mixing bowl combine the ground meats, ricotta, Parmesan, breadcrumbs, egg, parsley and nutmeg. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then add the cooled onions and garlic. Mix until thoroughly combined. Scoop in to 1½-ounce. meatballs.

Place a sauté pan over medium heat and add a film of olive oil. Add a layer of meatballs, leaving spacing in between and deeply brown on all sides. You may need to do this in batches. When all of the meatballs have been browned add them to a pot of simmering Pomodoro to finish cooking, about 20 minutes.


Chorizo Meatballs

Ingredients US Metric

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 3/4 cup fresh store-bought or homemade bread crumbs*
  • 1/2 cup grated Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground chorizo (the Spanish sort and not the Mexican kind)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or less to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Slick a rimmed baking sheet or a roasting pan with 2 tablespoons of the oil.

In a skillet over medium heat, warm the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the egg and milk together. Add the bread crumbs, cheese, cilantro, chili powder, cumin, and oregano and combine.

Add the sautéed onion and garlic to the egg mixture along with the beef and chorizo. Add the salt and mix thoroughly.

Using dampened hands, roll about 1 tablespoon chorizo mixture into balls about 1 1/2 inches (4 centimeters) in diameter, taking care not to squash the mixture too much. Take care that the meatballs are all the same size to ensure they cook evenly. Arrange the meatballs on the baking sheet, spacing them evenly.

Roast for 12 to 18 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through. Serve immediately. Originally published September 16, 2015.

Tuxedo Variation

  • Cocktail Party Chorizo Meatballs

For chorizo meatballs that are daintier—and easier for your guests to manage as they juggle a cocktail in one hand and a toothpick, napkin, and party nosh in the other—simply use half the amount of chorizo meatball mixture as directed in the recipe above when you shape the meatballs and bake for a shorter amount of time. Begin checking on the meatballs after 8 minutes.

*WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MAKING HOMEMADE BREAD CRUMBS

To make homemade bread crumbs, use 2- to 3-day-old stale bread of any sort and pulse it in a food processor until crumbs form. For softer bread crumbs, use bread that’s been soaked in milk or water.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

Foolproof, flawless, flavorful. One bite of these chorizo meatballs was all it took to confirm that this was a winning recipe. Juicy, delicate texture, brimming with bold flavors—I could devour a boatload of these.

Since the recipe called for 1 teaspoon chili powder, my natural instincts made me add Indian hot chili powder—oh yeah, so worth it! I added approximately 1 teaspoon salt to the mix. And then 12 minutes in my Viking rendered these beautiful babies! I dig flavors that don't require the extra elevation of frying or oil.

One can serve these as appetizers or, like me, you can make chorizo meatball gyros with them. Throw some pickled onions on top, smash the beautiful babies, and it's a party in your mouth!

If you’re looking to whip up some spicy meatballs for tonight’s dinner, this is your recipe. Indeed, I saw this chorizo meatballs recipe in the morning and made these meatballs the same afternoon. I had all the ingredients on hand except the chorizo and bread, which I picked up in the meantime.

As a bonus, the meatballs are baked, not fried, so they can be cooked up all at once. The chorizo enhanced with chili powder gives these quite a kick. They looked and smelled so fabulous coming out of the oven, it was hard to resist eating one right away. (I withstood temptation and waited until the rest of the meal was finished and on the table.)

After I turned on the oven, I prepped, mixed, and formed the meatballs and put them on the sheet pan to go into the oven, yet the oven still wasn’t preheated—they come together that quickly.

My bread crumbs were from a baguette and I used Monterey Jack cheese. I did not add salt because of the chorizo and cheese. There is so much heat and flavor going on, it seemed unnecessary to add more salt.

I served the meatballs alongside a planned (ahem) vegetarian main dish of spinach lasagna. We also had baguette slices from the same bread I used to make the fresh bread crumbs, along with a dipping sauce of peppery extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar with some fresh herbs.

I loved this chorizo meatballs recipe. Maybe it's because it's so similar to German-style meatballs—well, not really ingredient-wise, but using pork and beef, bread, egg, onion, garlic, and parsley (ah, cilantro).

They were very nicely browned, juicy, and great-tasting meatballs. Since I had no Cheddar or Jack, I used Gruyère, which worked great. I served the meatballs with some spaghetti squash sautéed with garlic and scallions and a lemony mayo-based sauce on the side. As it turned out, these meatballs didn't need any sauce. This recipe is a keeper.

I am always looking for new ways to make meatballs, and I must say that I enjoyed this chorizo meatballs recipe a lot. It was easy to find all the ingredients, and it came together ever so quickly. I liked the flavor of the chorizo sausage in the meatballs.

I made a fresh tomato sauce and homemade pasta to go on the side of the meatballs. I added 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. I ended up with 20 meatballs, so if you're serving 4 meatballs per person, you could feed 5 people.

Once you have all the ingredients, these chorizo meatballs are very easy to throw together.

Whenever I make meatballs, I always grab a small chunk of the meat mixture, and cook it in a skillet so I can taste for seasoning. I cooked my sample meatball in the skillet I had cooked the onions and garlic in. Why dirty another pan? My sample meatball was actually prettier and tasted better than the rest of the meatballs that baked in the oven. That was due to the crisp outside achieved by sautéing it in the skillet. The meatballs that baked in the oven swam in the fat that was rendered as they cooked, so they had a dull finish to them.

Before serving the meatballs that had baked in the oven, I took the time to crisp the outside by sautéing them in a skillet. I'm sure that some would find that unnecessary, but I did have the taste of the sample meatball in my mind. I can see making these to serve to folks as an appetizer or as part of a Mexican buffet—perhaps at a taco party. I served them with a cheesy Tex-Mex rice dish with some slices of avocado. If I do make these again, I will cook them on top of the stove to achieve the crisp outside crust.

This recipe definitely has a Mexican flavor profile so I don't think you should plan to have spaghetti with this dish. That said, they're flavorful and delicious with lots of spice. I thought that serving them with migas would be a good idea for next time I make them.

I didn't add any salt at all because I thought the chorizo had enough already. I found the timing was right, although I turned them down about halfway through cooking to make sure they browned evenly.

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Comments

I love making meatballs but I have never come across a recipe like this. Well I tried it and it is amazing. Walking away from the traditional Itallian style, this might be the very best alternative recipe I have ever tried for a meatball. I thought the ingredients were odd but I stuck to the recipe and the results speak for themselves. I put together some fine diced garlic, onion and diced cherry tomatoes in butter and sautéed them and then added a half cup of white wine. Then I added the al dente pasta and the meatballs from this recipe. Just a little more butter and tossed it around in a stove top pot on low heat. Perfection. I will certainly share this with others and most certainly make this meatball recipe again and again. I can’t wait to try this meatball recipe with different sauces and now I’m thinking about using the recipe to make a delicious meatloaf.

Seamus, your meal looks amazing! We’re delighted you took a chance on the recipe and stuck with it and are even more pleased at how much you loved the results. Thanks so much for sharing with others and with us! We can’t wait to hear what you try next.


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