I know. It’s been forever. I’m sorry. I have many pictures and many recipes to share, and I promise to when I have more time! Can we get past this and still stay together? Who would I be without you…?

Mike and I decided to make a traditional Italian meatball dish tonight for dinner, served with a side of spaghetti with tomato sauce and stir-fried asparagus with a balsamic-olive-oil dressing. The meatballs were, in short, incredible. I loved that I could taste the bread that was soaked in milk, which just added to the richness. The breading on the outside formed a crispy crust while the inside stayed juicy. I also discovered today that I love cabbage, especially soft, buttery, sweet cabbage accentuated by the acidity from tomatoes. Mmm-mm-good!

Unfortunately, the picture doesn’t look so great, because it’s hard to keep the meatball round and perfect. Plus the lighting is crappy. OKAY I’M SORRY I’ll stop complaining about the lighting in my dining room is bad for photography.

More pictures and recipe after the jump.

Winter Meatballs with Savoy Cabbage
Adapted from Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

Note: We doubled the recipe and it fed 4 people until they were bursting at the seams with enough left overs for probably two meals for 2 people.

1/3c milk
Slice of good-quality white bread, trimmed of its crust
1lb ground beef (we used 80% fat, but only because it was on sale and…cheaper)
2oz prosciutto, chopped very fine
1 egg (if you’re doubling the recipe, I’d suggest 3 eggs)
1tbsp parsley, chopped
2tbsp onion, very finely chopped
3tbsp freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
1c fine, dry, unflavored bread crumbs
1 1/4 to 1 1/2lb Savoy cabbage
2tsp garlic, chopped
2/3c canned imported Italian tomatoes, drained and cut into coarse pieces

  1. Detach cabbage leaves from the core (discarding the core), and shred them into strips about 1/4 in wide.
  2. Put olive oil and chopped garlic into saute pan under medium heat. Stir garlic until fragrant and golden. Add cabbage, turning it a few times to coat it well. Turn down the heat to low and cover.
  3. Cook cabbage for 40min-1hr, turning the cabbage from time to time until it’s become very soft and it’s wilted to maybe 1/3 of its original size. Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. In the meantime, pour milk and bread in a saucepan on low heat. When bread has soaked up all of the milk, mash it to a pump with a fork. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  5. Mix together with hands in bowl: ground meat, chopped prosciutto, egg(s), parsley, onion, grated Parmesan, salt, pepper, and bread/milk mush. Shape the meat mixture into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter (I’m pretty sure we made them 2 in). Then roll the balls lightly over a plate of bread crumbs.
  6. Pour 1/4in of vegetable oil in saute pan, turn on heat to medium high. When  oil is hot, slip in the balls. Brown your balls on all sides, turning them carefully so they don’t break up. Mine did. I was very upset. Also, I’m having a lot of fun using the word “balls” in every sentence. I hope no one is actually reading this recipe. When they are done, remove them from the pan and drain on a plate with paper towels.
  7. Hopefully your cabbages are ready now. Add the cut-up tomatoes, stir, and cook for about 15min. Place meatballs on the bed of cabbage, and cook for 10-15 min, turning the contents from time to time. This is pretty important because we forgot about our hot balls and the cabbage burnt pretty badly.

I should post more meatball recipes. I just never stop finding it funny.