We're talking meatballs! Those tiny little bundles of ground meat, mixed to perfection and flavored in a variety of ways. Sometimes they are made with lamb, pork or veal, can be small and Swedish or flavored with anything from tart cranberries to crunchy pignoli nuts.
The Swedish ones bring back a memory..... back in the 1950's our mom had a friend named Edly who was born and raised in Sweden. She was a tall slender women and spoke with a very heavy accent. She gave mom her special recipe for her Swedish meatballs. (Edly was extremely thin...I always thought to myself "doesn't she ever eat any of them?")
To this day her exquisite recipe is always requested by our family. Joy's father-in -law, Big Fred, loves to throw in a handful of plump golden raisins. They add a little sweetness and a lovely texture. But in our home, we always will remember them made with beef, flavored with garlic and cheese, bread crumbs, fresh parsley and just simmering slowly in a marinara sauce.
On most weekends our grandparents would bring the sauce in a big silver
pot, which we still have, filled with meatballs and sausage, from their
home in West Hartford. Papa Tony drove very carefully on the highway,
40 mph in the right lane for the entire trip, so the treasured pot of sauce would make it down to our home in Bridgeport safely.
As children we would wait outside for them, so we could help Papa with
the door and carry in all the goodies Nana had baked. Papa always had the "Italian Elbow" going on, ringing the door bell with his elbow, because his hands were carrying something to eat!
The meatballs cooked in the sauce were served mostly with pasta, and if baked on their own sometimes served on a grinder roll or in a bowl of soup, usually Wedding Bell soup. Whether you bake, broil, fry or buy the meatballs, just remember to enjoy them with the people you love; and always cherish family times around the table.
We thought this would be a great recipe for New Years Eve, because it is so easy, quick and can be prepared ahead of time. We have dressed the meatball up for the holiday..... and WOW what a presentation!
Pork and Provolone Meatballtini with Lemon Aioli (Sauce):
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 3/4 cup grated provolone cheese
- 1 tablespoon cream
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoon olive oil for frying
Combine all ingredients. If mixture is to soft, chill for 1 hour. Roll meatballs into 1 1/2 inch balls and fry until golden.
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
- Pinch of white pepper
- 3/4 cup olive oil
Combine yolks, lemon juice, garlic, salt, zest, and pepper in a blender. With blender running, slowly drizzle in olive oil, and blend until an emulsion forms. The aioli may be kept in the refrigerator for up to a day in a covered container.
To assemble meatballtini, garnish the rim of the glass with leftover grated cheese, lemon zest and parsley. Grease the rim with olive oil so this mixture will stick. Place a small dollop of aioli in bottom of glass. Place 4-5 meatballs in martini glass. Again garnish with a sprinkle of cheese, lemon zest and parsley. Enjoy!