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Sicilian Meatballs with Golden Raisins, Pinenuts, and Tomato Agrodolce

Sicilian Meatballs with Golden Raisins, Pinenuts, and Tomato Agrodolce

Executive chef Stephen Kalt is making a mouth-watering Italian dish.
Ingredients for Meatballs
  • 1.25 lb. ground beef
  • ½ cup grated parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padana
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • ½ cup finely chopped onions
  • ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs (put some white bread or other with crusts removed into food processor for best results)
  • 7 ounces whole milk (can use water or nut milk but will change the meatball)
  • 1 whole egg
  • ¼ cup pinenuts
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup chopped flat leaf parsley, stems removed
  • ½ tsp. chopped fresh garlic clove
  • ½ TBSP sugar
  • ½ oz. salt
Directions for Sauce
  • ½ TBSP minced fresh garlic clove
  • 2 anchovy filet
  • 2 oz. olive oil
  • ¼ cup finely diced onion
  • ¼ cup finely diced fennel bulb
  • 1 tsp. fennel seed
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice (preferred)
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 large cans Italian Plum Tomatoes (either buy crushed or crush by hand)
  • 1/2 oz. sugar
  • ½ TBSP salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Basil Leaves and Rosemary

Directions for Meatballs

1. Place all of the ingredients together into a stand mixer and mix with paddle attachment slowly for 2-3 minutes until completely incorporated, or place into a large bowl and mix by hand.

2. Preheat oven to 550 degrees or as hot as it can go, convection even better.
3. Refrigerate meatball mixture for 15-30 minutes. This makes it easier to roll them. If you can, use an ice cream scoop for uniformity and if you have a scale, weigh one or two. Best range is 2.4-2.6 ounces for full size, 1.25 for appetizer or canope size.

4. Scoop the meatballs, placing them on an oiled sheet pan. Gently roll the meatballs until round and place them next to each other on the sheet pan. Place sheet pan with meatballs in pre-heated oven for 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool to room temperature, unless you’ve prepared the sauce first. Then just spoon the cooked meatballs directly into the sauce and simmer for 45 minutes.

Directions for Sauce

1. Heat a large skillet over medium flame for 1 minute. Add olive oil, anchovy, garlic, fennel seed, and bay leaf and saute, breaking up the anchovy with a wooden spoon.
2. Add the onion and fennel and cook 4-5 minutes until they soften a bit. You don’t want color per se so turn the flame down if they are browning.
3. Add the orange juice, red wine vinegar, sugar, salt, and bay leaf and allow the mixture to gently boil, reducing by half.
4. Add the crushed tomatoes, bring to a boil, and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
5. Rough chop some fresh basil and rosemary and add to the sauce.
6. Add the Meatballs to the sauce and allow to simmer slowly for 45 minutes.
7. Serve with grated parmigiano and chopped parsley.

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