photo by Aran Goyoaga, from my cookbook “Eating in the Middle”
I’ve been to eleven cities in Italy and lived in New York City for two years, where there’s some pretty fantastic Italian food. And out of all of the many red checker table-clothed mom and pop shops in Italy and the many famous restaurants, this recipe still makes the best meatballs and sauce.
The meatballs are as tender as can be. Soft and seasoned with oregano and…mint, the secret ingredient in my stepdad’s decades-old recipe. You’d never be able to pinpoint what that lovely flavor is, because it’s not overtly minty, it’s just subtlely fragrant and herbal.
PJ, my stepdad, has been making these for me and everyone we know and love forever. They’re by far the most requested meal in my [sometimes unbearably] large family — before parties, holidays, and most importantly, weekends when I come home to visit Massachusetts.
PJ’s sauce is rich, sweet, and garlicky. He cooks the meatballs right in that sauce, allowing them to retain their moisture, and giving the sauce even more flavor.
Trust me here. This is a recipe you’ll make over and over again!