These meatballs have a light and decidedly Northern touch, with their seasoning of parsley, chives, nutmeg, parmigiano and broth-soaked breadcrumbs. The sauce is an equally refined composition of shallots, mushrooms, white wine and broth.
Preparation time for these meatballs is quick–a half-hour at the most. Start the sauce, then set it aside to simmer on lowest heat, then mix and form the meatballs. As the meatballs brown, they can be dropped into the sauce to poach for about fifteen minutes (or longer, if need be).
The beauty of meatballs is that they can be reheated in their sauce at the last moment, making them the ideal party dish–leaving you free to concentrate on making the pasta–which takes more concentration than people think (stir often and don’t overcook or undercook).
Tonight, as a first course, we had fresh egg pappardelle–always a treat, dressed with the mushroom sauce and lots of grated parmigiano sprinkled on top.
As a second course, I served the meatballs, along with sauteed kale.
Veal Meatballs in Mushroom Sauce
serves 4 – 6
1 1/2 lb ground veal
3 thick slices of country-style white bread
2 c chicken broth
2 tbls fresh chopped parsley
2 tbls fresh chopped chives
1/4 tsp nutmeg
6 tbls grated parmigiano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 c olive oil, for pan-frying
mushroom sauce (below)
Arrange bread cubes in a baking dish and pour hot broth over them. Let them absorb the broth for about 10 minutes.
Process soaked bread in the food processor until it reaches the consistency of mush.
In a mixing bowl, combine veal, bread puree, cheese, herbs, eggs, salt, nutmeg and pepper.
Mix gently to combine with hands or a fork. Form into 1 1/2″ balls and set aside.
In a broad skillet, brown in olive oil, gently turning often, to assure even brownness all around.
As they become golden brown on all sides, drop into mushroom sauce and simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes.
1 lb mixed white and wild mushrooms, diced into roughly 1/2″ pieces
1 small shallot, finely diced
4 tbls butter
1 1/2 tbls flour
1/2 c white wine
1 1/2 c chicken broth
1 tbl fresh chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
In a large skillet on high heat, brown mushrooms and shallot for about 5 minutes, or until golden. Add wine and flour, stir and reduce for a minute or so.
Lower heat and add chicken broth. Transfer to narrower, higher-sided pot in order to poach the meatballs.
Taste and add salt and pepper.
Simmer for another 5 minutes or so.