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A16 Food + Wine on How to Make Stellar Meatballs

One of my favorite chefs, Nate Appleman of San Francisco's A16, has debuted a new book co-written with his wine director, Shelley Lindgren, entitled A16 Food + Wine.

To celebrate the cookbook's debut, Williams-Sonoma, which will carry the book, hosted a launch party with the authors on hand. There, I not only scored a copy of the book but also sampled some entries from the new tome.

I couldn't get enough of the moist, complexly flavored meatballs. The recipe can be time-intensive, but once you taste the finished product, you'll think it's totally worth the wait. Learn how to make the meatballs (and check out photos from the bash!) when you


Monday Meatballs

Monday Meatballs

A16 Meatballs


  1. 10 ounces boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes and finely chopped in a food processor
  2. 10 ounces beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes and finely chopped in a food processor
  3. 6 ounces day-old country bread, torn into chunks, chilled in the freezer for 15 minutes, and then finely chopped in a food processor
  4. 2 ounces pork fat, cut into 1-inch cubes and chilled in the freezer for 15 minutes and then finely chopped in a food processor
  5. 2 ounces prosciutto, cut into 1-inch cubes and chilled in the freezer for 15 minutes and then finely chopped in a food processor
  6. 1 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
  7. 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  8. 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  9. 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  10. 1 teaspoon dried chile flakes
  11. 2/3 cup fresh ricotta, drained if necessary
  12. 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  13. 1/4 cup whole milk
  14. 1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes with juices
  15. Handful of fresh basil leaves
  16. Block of grana padano for grating
  17. Extra virgin olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat two rimmed baking sheets with olive oil.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the pork, beef, bread, pork fat, prosciutto, parsley, 1 tablespoon of the salt, oregano, fennel seeds, and chile flakes and mix with your hands just until all of the ingredients are evenly distributed. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the ricotta, eggs, and milk just enough to break up any large curds of ricotta. Add the ricotta mixture to the ground meat mixture and mix lightly with your hands just until incorporated. The mixture should feel wet and tacky. Pinch off a small nugget of the mixture, flatten into a disk, and cook it in a small sauté pan. Taste it and adjust the seasoning of the mixture with salt if needed. Form the mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls each weighing about 2 ounces, and place on the prepared baking sheets. You should have about 30 meatballs.
  4. Bake, rotating the sheets once from front to back, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are browned. Remove from the oven and lower the oven temperature to 300° F.
  5. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the remaining 2 teaspoons salt, and then pass the tomatoes and their juices through a food mill fitted with the medium plate. Alternatively, put the entire can of tomatoes in a large bowl, don an apron, and then squeeze the tomatoes into small pieces with your hands.
  6. Pack the meatballs into 1 large roasting pan or 2 smaller roasting pans. Pour the tomato sauce over the meatballs, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and braise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the meatballs are tender and have absorbed some of the tomato sauce.
  7. Pull the pans out of the oven and uncover. Distribute the basil leaves throughout the sauce.
  8. For each serving, ladle meatballs with some of the sauce into a warmed bowl. Grate grana padano over the top, drizzle with olive oil to finish, and serve immediately.

Serves 6.

The party debuted the launch of A16 chef Nate Appleman and wine director Shelley Lindgren's new book.

The launch party took place on the top floor of the William-Sonoma flagship store in San Francisco's Union Square.

The first wine, ConcaBianco, was a blend of two Italian white grapes with a crisp, apple flavor.

Lindgren paired the ConcaBianco with a tuna panzanella.

The red wine pairing was so popular, a line trailed from the serving table halfway through the room.

The Monday Meatballs absorbed the flavor of the San Marzano tomato sauce.

The meatballs were paired with aglianico, an earthy, spicy red popular in Campania, Italy.
Join The Conversation
CandiRae CandiRae 5 years
These meatballs sound wonderful! I especially like the fact that both pork and beef is used. Will try out the recipe this winter.
justanerd1975 justanerd1975 8 years
I'm with you milosmommy! They sound yummy enough to go try at a restaurant, but waaaaay too much work for meatballs for me.
milosmommy milosmommy 8 years
They sound awesome. But I don't think I'll have that kinda time in the next 18 years to do soemething that complicated. I think I'd rather just go to the restaurant. :)
SweetnLow SweetnLow 8 years
Proscuitto in a meatball? That sounds awesome! I'll have to try it. (I usually make my meatballs with turkey, though.) And I do the Martha Ice-cube in the middle trick to keep them all juicy on the inside. It really does work!
Brandi13jrm Brandi13jrm 8 years
Riiiiiiiiight. Sounds great but I don't think I'll ever put that much time into a meatball. I have my own recipe that I like that's simple but good.
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