Friday, September 12, 2008

Mama's Meatball Mambo

Surprisingly my favorite male celebrity chef is not someone who appears on the Food Network. I have had a long standing interest in Rocco DiSpirito since his NBC reality TV show The Restaurant back in 2003. I was an avid watcher of the show and have followed his career casually since then. I like Rocco's cocky attitude, his new physique and most importantly his relationship with his mother. There is something so endearing about a man who loves his mama! Rocco's very Italian mother, Nicolina was a regular character on The Restaurant and she was famous for her meatball recipe. I recently heard that Rocco is going to be a contestant on the next season of Dancing with the Stars (one of my favorite shows) and it reminded me of Rocco's short running reality TV show in 2003 and his protective and close relationship with his mama. So I decided to take a shot at recreating Italian meatballs at home in honor of Rocco and Nicolina.

Italian Meatballs
Joy of Cooking

Combine in a large bowl:

1 pound ground beef
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Mix with your hands.

Scoop out the mixture in heaping tablespoons and form into 2 inch balls.

Dredge the meatballs in:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Heat in a large skillet over medium heat:

2 tablespoons olive oil

Brown the meatballs in batches. Place in a baking pan and cook in a preheated 375 degree oven for 10 minutes.
Add to tomato sauce. Serve over pasta.

These meatballs were amazing. They were exceptionally tender and very flavorful. Since the meatballs were the featured recipe I served them over whole wheat pasta and my version of spiced up jarred tomato sauce. This was a perfectly hearty and delicious meal!


Carrie said...

Something about making meatballs scares me, so Adam always makes them. I will have to show him this recipe.

MaryBeth said...

I love meatballs, these look absolutely fabulous.

Gabriela said...

Mama mia! Che bella cucina!

gaga said...

wow, those are some really gorgeous meatballs! yum

Mojito Maven said...

seriously my mouth is watering. LOVE your blog!

GravissFamily said...

wow. great pics!

Joelen said...

Can I just tell you that Rocco is even hotter in person?! I didnt use to like him and I told him I didn't want his cookbook when he offered it to me and was willing to sign it (like a dummy!) But after seeing him in person again earlier this year, my thoughts of him changed. Thank goodness he didn't remember me from last time. :)

Nate-n-Annie said...

Rocco - what can I say about a guy who started out as a decent chef but ended up on Dancing With the Stars?

Good series of how-to photos. Your meatballs look great. Just like mama used to make...if my mama was Italian.

hoopla said...

Those look yummy and I love that they're baked. Rocco DiSpirito was on an old Food Network show The Melting Pot and I lost track of him once that show quit filming. I always thought he was cute. The show had a cast of chefs that were rotated and he usually hosted with Cat Cora (an American Iron Chef).

Anonymous said...

This looks just amazing! my favorite way of eating pasta :)

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Rocco's appearance on The Biggest Loser!


Angie said...

Those look great! I make mine very similar, but much smaller. I love how hearty yours look!

Anonymous said...

I made these tonight and they turned out fabulous! The only change I made was replacing the Parmesan with a Mexican blend shredded cheese, only because it was all I had.

I will be making all my meatballs this way from now on, replacing and adding herbs and spices depending on what they will be served with.

Thanks for the recipe!

Cheryl said...

Those look amazing, I am going to make those the next rainy day! p.s. I gave you a blog award! Come pick it up when you get a chance!

Melanie said...

Mmm I'm sitting at my desk reading your blog and drooling over these meatballs. Lucky for me, I'm going out to eat Italian tonight! Miss you!!!!!!

Linda said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dean Baker said...

I was surfing the net and was looking for a meatball recipe. I happend on your blog. Thanks for the recipe. I used to watch the show with Rocco on it. I thought it was very popular. I recently saw him on some program where he helps people cook for themselves. He had some good tips. I also like the cooking prep shots nicely done.
Once again, thanks.

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