I’m sure that most of you have your favorite meatball recipe – perhaps even a family classic. But these were such a hit at home I had to share them with you.
My dear fellow Brazilian blogger Adgah posted these meatballs a while ago and they looked so delicious – the exact kind of food Joao is crazy for. She adapted this recipe, from Tyler Florence, and I followed her version (which is the one I’m posting here).
I had a few myself and the mix of cooked onions, parsley and basil gives the meatballs a wonderful flavor – not to mention that melting cheese is always a winner in my book.
And I was right about Joao – he loved these.
Tyler and Agdah's meatballs
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed*
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley leaves
a handful of basil, chopped
1 cup (240ml) milk
2 very thick slices firm white bread, crusts removed – I used whole wheat bread
1kg ground beef
1 large egg
1 cup freshly grated parmesan
salt and freshly ground black pepper
200g mozzarella cheese, cut into chunks – I used the yellow mozzarella we have here, made from cow’s milk and used as pizza topping
Heat 3 tablespoons oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and parsley and cook until the vegetables are soft but still translucent, about 10 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and let cool.
Pour enough milk over the bread in a bowl to moisten and let it soak while the onions are cooling. Combine the meats in a large bowl. Add the egg and parmesan and season generously with salt and pepper. Use your hands to squeeze the excess milk out of the bread and add that to the bowl along with the cooled onion mixture. (Hang onto the pan - you'll need it to cook the meatballs.) Gently combine all the ingredients with your hands or with a spoon until just mixed together. Don't overwork or the meatballs will be tough. Divide into 10 equal pieces and shape them into 10 nice looking meatballs.
Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF.
Heat a bit of olive oil in the frying pan over medium heat and brown the meatballs on all sides, about 10 minutes – be careful not to tear them apart. Put them into a baking dish and bake until the meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes.
* instead of the cloves, I used a garlic infused olive oil I made a couple of weeks ago (I got the idea from one episode of "Nigella Express")
Makes 10 – I used 1 heaping tablespoon of beef mixture to format each meatball and got 40; half of them were eaten fresh and the others were frozen (while still raw).