In episode two of my web series, "Hey, It's Angie", I co-host a dinner party with my pal and performance buddy Miranti. Miranti and I have been sharing stages since the early 2000s and we also share a passion for cooking! Miranti's blog, The Joy Of Feasting features gorgeous dishes that transcend to art while losing no flavor or depth of taste. This rogue chef, as she often refers to herself, isn't just the queen of her own kitchen, she also won the Food Network's popular show Cooks Vs Cons. I think of myself as a home cook that's more meatball than Met Gala, so I was a bit intimidated to jump behind the burners with Miranti! But one of the things I love most about her is that while her creations are refined, cultivated, and truly stunning, she is deeply rooted in tradition, very humble, and passionate about feeding friends. Together, we wanted to set a table full of easy to eat treats that fused our culinary styles of Indo-Talian (Indonesian + Italian) and would delight our friends.
Our party menu was pretty dazzling. For our savory section, Miranti served up a gorgeous and light chicory salad, her grandmother's scallops, Sambal Grilled Cheese fingers on homemade sourdough, which I have to say was amazing, the perfect amount of spice mixed with freshly toasted bread and glorious cheese, Singaporean buttered prawns and Quail Scotch Eggs. I turned up with Aunt Linda's Asparagus Fritatta, Mamma Weezie's sausage stuffed mushrooms and my Velvet Meatballs with Fresh Ricotta. When feeding large groups and especially in a cocktail party setting I love serving meatballs. There are so many great variations that you can do to keep them interesting and you can roll them small to make it manageable for guests who are balancing cocktails and conversation. Like my meatballs, Miranti's home run dish was ball based, too (insert laugh track here). I had never had a scotch egg before, and I was eager to try it. It absolutely did not disappoint and Miranti made the assembly look so easy that I will absolutely be adding this recipe to my repertoire, and you can too! Visit Miranti on her site, The Joy Of Feasting and get the 411 for yourself!
For sweets, Miranti kicked up pandan flan, pistachio Napoleon, and her pretty epic boob chocolates! I had every intention of rocking out some 7 layer cookies (rainbow cookies) but that didn't happen so I sent my sweet husband to Villabate Alba, a Brooklyn sweets staple. I hope you enjoy the episode as much as we enjoyed making it and try my Velvet Meatballs for your next event! They are a hit every time!
This makes about 42 meatballs and serves 12 - 15 people
What Do I Need
1 Pound Ground Pork
1 Pound Ground Veal
1 Pound Ground Beef
6 Cloves of Garlic (crushed and minced)
2 T Chopped Basil + more for serving (I use fresh, you can use dried)
2 T Parsley (chopped)1/2 Yellow Onion (chopped well)
1/4 Loaf of Italian Bread (this can be stale or fresh)
2 Cups Milk
1 Cup Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese (grated)
Salt & Pepper
10 Ounces Ricotta Cheese (for serving)
(This sauce is based on the queen of cooking, Marcella Hazan's classic recipe of creating a basic sauce with tomatoes and butter. The result of this simple combination is a smooth and almost creamy sauce that is a perfect pair for these tender meatballs. I have made some adaptations in my version, but the butter genius is from the amazing Marcella Hazan.)
2 28 Ounce San Marzano Tomatoes (I used 1 can crushed and one can whole)
10 T Unsalted Butter
2 Small or 1 Large Yellow Onion (peeled & cut in half)
Salt & Pepper
If you have a cheese rind, toss it in! They add a great depth of flavor and I always save mine to use in sauces and soups.
Let's start with the sauce! Combine all your ingredients for the sauce in a large pot and cook over medium heat, stirring gently and crushing up the whole tomatoes as you go. Allow the sauce to cook for about 45 minutes to an hour and get going on preparing your meatballs!
Take 1/4 of your loaf of Italian bread, place it in a small bowl, and soak in your milk. While bread is soaking, in a large bowl, combine your ground meats, garlic, chopped basil, parsley, and onion. Now crack your three eggs into the mixture, add your cheese and salt and pepper. Remove your bread from the bowl of milk, discard milk and squeeze any excess milk out of your bread. Tear up your bread into small pieces and add to your meatball mixture. Mix everything very well with your hands, be sure to break up your eggs and bread well in there!
Roll your meatballs into about 1.5" balls To cook your meatballs, heat about 3/4 of an inch of olive oil in a large pan. The meatballs should be 1/2 covered in oil. Heat your oil and fry your meatballs, be careful to not overcrowd the pan. The meatballs are ready when browned, depending on the size of your meatballs it will take about 7 - 12 minutes to cook. When done with meatballs, add them to the sauce, where they will continue to cook a bit and absorb more flavor. Add pepper to the sauce to taste.
When you are ready to serve, place the meatballs on a large platter or bowl, with a few spoons of sauce on top, sprinkle the top with fresh basil. On the side place additional sauce and bowl of ricotta with a spoon for guests to add to their meatballs!
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You can munch with Miranti at Mad Tropical brunches in Brooklyn!