Thursday, October 16, 2014

Being Italian Means Loving Meatballs

I love food. Who’s munching non-stop? Me. I not only love to eat but also love to cook. Some of my favorite meals are from old fashioned recipes. I collect these recipes from my family and from close friends who don’t mind sharing. 
Italians have a love affair with food, but I’m sure many already know that about us. Our gatherings are centered around food and wine and plenty of both.
This particular recipe of Italian meatballs was handed down to me by my mother. They are simple (as was she) and delicious. So, what does this food say about me? Well, it’s Italian, and I am very Italian. I was born in Brolo, Messina, Italy. 
I speak Italian, write and read Italian and obviously look Italian.  I come from a big Italian family with lots of sisters, a brother, eighteen nieces and nephews and over twenty great-nieces and nephews. We enjoy family time, family reunions, and just being together every chance we get. When we do get together, the concentration is on food. All of us, men and women, cook something to bring to the feast and feast it is.
The list of food during one holiday may either excite or overwhelm some people. Let me give you an idea of what an Easter feast might be like at the Orobello’s.
We begin with two large platters of antipasto; this isn’t your typical antipasto, no, this is a combination of sliced oranges, sliced lemons, fresh ricotta salata, fresh mozzarella, aged salami (imported from Italy), aged suprosata, and homemade pretzels made with wine and lots of pepper. Then, we take an hour break. 
When we return, we have a meat dish, usually baby lamb chops with spring salad, shortly after we bring out the homemade lasagna or ravioli or manicotti surrounded with meatballs, sausage, and more lamb.
Afterwards, we rest – most of the time we clean up the kitchen during this time, then we head back for seasonal fruit and nuts, usually hazelnuts, walnuts, and almonds. A little later we complete the meal with pastries and cakes. Most of which are filled with fresh ricotta. Why all the fresh chesses? Well, years ago many Italians who owned farms made cheese during early Spring because it was the best time of the year to receive the best milk from cows, sheep and lamb, so the tradition remains. 
I hope you will enjoy these rich, cheesy meatballs as much as we do. Everyone who has tried them, wants to have the recipe, so here it is.
2 lbs. chopped meat
1 cup plain bread crumbs
1 tbs. dried parsley
1 tbs. chopped basil leaves
1 cup grated cheese
2 eggs beaten
2 large cloves of garlic, chopped fine
Salt and pepper to taste.   

Use a deep bowl for your ingredients. Mix well (if the mix is too hard, add some milk), create balls, fry or bake till cooked.
© Natala Orobello

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