Homemade Ravioli

A place for Quattrones, Betteridges, and Praticos to share our family stories, history, and heritage.

Calabrese meatballs

The Q. Family knew the recipe to making ends meet: Calabrese meatballs. In the old days, bread was cheap, meat expensive. Josephine & LuLu had passed on when I took over making the meatballs at my house in the ‘90s, so I talked to Mary & Nuncie about making great meatballs and gravy (not sauce). I wanted to eat healthier, but not lose the taste, so I cut down on the red meat by increasing the amount of bread, and broiled instead of fried my favorite food.

Nuncie, Mary and I were sitting around the kitchen table doing a taste test.They need to be cooked burned brown well done so I can eat them dry hot out of the oven in a roll with butter. Hmm.

“Aha !”Nuncie said as he munched the  crunchy speckled balls,“Now you’re making Calabrese meatballs, make that breadballs!”

Now I had never heard of “Calabrese” meatballs before. Growing up I heard various Italians from other regions, including my Mother LuLu, call Nuncie  when they were bickering a “hard-headed Calabrese.” The expression meant that we were a pigheaded, stubborn people. My Dad Nuncie was unfazed. He would smile, roll his eyes at her, and not change his mind.

Now I bet this is the signature dish of the “Homemade Ravioli” bloggers, so I want to make clear I am not saying my meatballs are the best.That, of course, would be  fightin’ words ! Like all good Italian-Americans,by blood or by marriage,each of us swears allegiance to the meatballs we ate growing up.We Q. men are all mammoni, so our mom’s & wives meatballs are the best. And we never,never eat meatballs at a restaurant because we don’t want to be disappointed,so we have the sausage instead.

After much experimenting, I now make my meatballs with 90% grass-fed ground beef, not the beef, pork, veal mix. Then I mix in curly parsley, garlic powder, eggs, spices, and lots of parmigiano cheese. Finally, lots of bread, cut up in little cubes. One can use Italian or white, stale, crusty, wet, or dry bread. Just remember, the more the bread, the better the meatballs.

I welcome and will consider all your comments on making great meatballs, but Mary tells me I tend to be a little pigheaded .


About Brian Kelley

Middle school teacher, co-chair of our ELA department, and co-director with PAWLP. Follow me on Twitter @_briank_.

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This entry was posted on February 27, 2015 by .
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