I keep trying with meatballs. I have a bit of a troubled past with them. The first time I made meatballs I used Ina’s recipe; they were fine, but, after a while, the nutmeg in them got to be a bit much. I had a bunch of the mixture left over, so I made meatball pizza. Still too much nutmeg.
Then I made Rachael’s meatball pizza. It was good, but I thought the deep-dish focaccia crust was the star of the show there. Plus, those weren’t really meatballs on top.
So now I’m at it again with Giada’s mini meatball heroes. These meatballs are about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. I wouldn’t exactly call that “mini,” but I guess it is on the smallish side. Anyway, I think this is officially my first real meatball success. These are perfectly moist without being too soft, and the flavor is just right. Mr. Man, who has claimed not to like meatball heroes, said this is the first good one he’s had. I don’t know that this recipe is radically different from most others, but there is a certain something special about it. What I liked most is the size. I have a really hard time eating a meatball sub without having a meatball shoot out the back and land on my lap, and I didn’t have that problem with these—they stayed securely snuggled in the bun. I think the cheese helped glue them in place. Definitely don’t skip the provolone and Parmesan on top, because they were the perfect complement.
This recipe makes a lot of meatballs. For two of us, I only made 12 meatballs, and I have plenty of leftover mixture stashed in the freezer. I’m already thinking about what to do with it next. Italian wedding soup could be good; so could meatball stromboli. Or maybe just good old spaghetti and meatballs. I was at Macaroni Grill not too long ago and got their mozzarella-stuffed meatballs—I might have to try making those on my own.
The recipe for Giada’s meatball heroes is here. I followed the directions for the meatballs exactly except I omitted the veal and, instead, used a pound of ground beef and 1/2 a pound of ground pork. After frying the meatballs I simmered them in about a cup of sauce, and while that was going I warmed the rolls in a 350-degree oven for 3 minutes. I then filled the rolls with sauce and meatballs, and I put a slice of provolone and a couple sprinkles of Parmesan on each one. Then I put them back in the oven for just a couple minutes to melt the cheese. I recommend putting only a small amount of sauce on the sandwiches themselves and serving the extra on the side—if you’re anything like me, a sandwich filled with red sauce is equivalent to an open invitation for a freshly splattered stain on your shirt.