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Italian Meatballs in Caper-Tomato Sauce

David Cicconi
Active time 30 mins
Total time 50 mins
Yield 4
Milk-soaked bread helps make chef Massimiliano Alajmo's beef-and-pork meatballs incredibly light; bits of chopped olive make them extra-flavorful. The thick tomato sauce coats the meatballs nicely and doubles as an excellent pasta sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon nonpareil capers, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup crustless bread, torn into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 pitted kalamata olives, minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley

How to Make It

  1. In a blender or food processor, puree the tomatoes. In a saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the pureed tomatoes and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat, stirring, until the sauce starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Add the capers and oregano and simmer until the sauce is reduced to 1 1/4 cups, 5 minutes. Season with salt; keep warm.

  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, cover the bread with the milk. Let stand until the bread has absorbed the milk, about 5 minutes.

  3. In a large bowl, combine the ground pork and beef. Add the milk-soaked bread, egg, olives, cheese, parsley and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix well with your hands and shape the mixture into 1 1/2-inch meatballs.

  4. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the meatballs and cook over moderately high heat until starting to brown, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to moderate and cook until browned all over and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Drain the meatballs and transfer to a platter. Pour the hot tomato sauce on top and serve.