Can I see a show of virtual hands for anyone out there who doesn’t love meatballs? Okay, so vegetarians get a free-pass on this. Or, do they? Today, March 9th, we celebrate meat—and meat-less balls. You need to thank the Italians for a lot of culinary ventures over the centuries. Parmesan cheese, Chianti, pizza, gelato, spaghetti and of course meatballs.
One of the great things we find about meatballs is how well they can be sliced, doused in marinara, and layered with a strong cheese to make delicious calzone-inspired Toastillas. “But, Kristen, where do we get the meatballs,” you ask? I think you know the answer to that question—you make them!
Today we will give you a great meatball recipe as well as a meat-less recipe made from spinach. Both are amazing and to be completely transparent, I think I lean a little to the spinach, while Rudy sits across the table from me popping another meatball Toastilla into the toaster. With our house divided on the issue, and without further ado here are today's meatball and meatless ball recipes!
Rao’s Meatball Recipe
Great restaurants are renowned for signature dishes and while we investigated great meatball recipes, one restaurant continually popped up in our research. Rao’s in East Harlem. It may be hard to find a seat at the New York joint, so if you’re in town you can also try Vegas and L.A. where they’ve recently opened satellite restaurants.
While grandmothers across the states have been rolling ground beef for decades, what separates a good meatball from a great meatball is the use of three ground meats: beef, pork and veal. Don’t believe us, you have to give it a try, although you might have to find a local butcher for the ground veal it is well worth it!
Our favorite way to serve these meatballs is to slice and layer the meatballs and sauce on a tomato puree tortilla, and then cut thin slices of Romano or Parmesan cheese before folding and toasting.
The meatballs can be sealed in the refrigerator for the next couple days or even frozen for future use. But, in our house, they rarely make it that long.
Hearty Boys Spinach Balls
While there are a lot of great spinach ball recipes out there, it did take us a little longer to find one befitting of the tortilla wrap we would eventually put it in. Lucky for us, The Food Network has “Party Line with the Hearty Boys.” These spinach balls pack a little punch but are evened out with the saltiness of Parmesan and flavor of garlic. Unlike meatballs which are often fried, spinach balls are baked in the oven, but are equally as flavorful as our carnivorous recipe.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
With spinach balls you can either stir into a marinara sauce for a few minutes or add the sauce over them as you lay the spinach balls into the Toastilla. From the Parmesan and garlic to the herbed-bread crumbs this recipe will become a staple for your parties and Italian night dinners.