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Sicilian Meatballs - Baduzzi

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Like all parts of Italy, Sicily has a variety of meatball recipes. Here we have Baduzzi a Broru, Meatballs in Broth, Badduzzi all'Auruducci, Sweet and Sour Meatballs, and Badduzzi Arrustuti 'Nte Pampini, Meatballs Grilled with Lemon Leaves.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • For the meatballs:
  • 1 1/4 pounds (600 g) ground veal or beef (not too lean, I'd suggest chuck)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ounces (75 g) pecorino pepato (Romano with peppercorns in it -- substitute regular romano if need be), grated
  • 2 ounces (50 g) Italian bread dipped in milk
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1-2 cloves garlic and a small bunch of parsley, minced
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • For the Broth (if you don't already have broth handy):
  • A piece of bone with marrow
  • 1/2 a chicken
  • A small onion
  • A small stick of celery and a carrot, tied together
  • 2-3 plum tomatoes

Preparation:

Place your minced meat on your work surface and work into it the two eggs, the bread, which should be thoroughly soaked (this is the secret to making meatballs that are moist and tender, rather than dry and hard), the minced herbs, the grated cheese and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Form the mixture into meatballs (about an inch in diameter), rolling them between your palms, and roll them lightly in bread crumbs.

They are at this point ready to be cooked in broth, which you should make by simmering the ingredients listed above for an hour or slightly more (see instructions if need be) if you do not already have broth handy.

If these meatballs do not go into broth they of course have other uses:

Badduzzi all'Auruducci -- Sweet and Sour Meatballs
You'll want 1/3 of a cup each shelled almonds and hazelnuts; toast them in a pan on the stove until they begin to brown, mince them, and set them aside.

Prepare the meatballs as above, and pan fry them in a quarter cup of olive oil, moving them about so they brown on all sides as they cook. When they're done (5-10 minutes), stir some sugar into a couple of tablespoons of vinegar and sprinkle the mixture over them. As soon as the vinegar is evaporated turn off the heat, sprinkle the minced nuts over the meatballs, and serve.

The wine? I'd be tempted by a rosato.

Badduzzi Arrustuti 'Nte Pampini -- Meatballs Grilled with Lemon Leaves
Prepare the meatballs following the instructions given above, but going easy on the salt, and have handy 24 leaves from a lemon or orange tree that has not been treated with pesticides, washed, patted dry and lightly rubbed with olive oil. You will also need some freshly ground sea salt (grind kosher salt if need be).

Press each meatball between two leaves, and grill the meatball patties over a gentle flame. When the meat, because of the heat, gives off its juices, hissing and crackling, dust it with the seas salt.

According to Mr. Correnti, this is the most richly perfumed meat dish in all of Sicily. He notes that if you do not have access to lemon leaves, you can cut thin rounds of zest from untreated lemons and put the meatballs on a spit, alternating them with rounds of zest. Then grill them as above.

The wine? A white, for example Ciró Bianco or a Greco di Tufo, would be nice.

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