Flipping around the TV, I stopped to watch a cooking segment with this Italian chef whom I like (he's been on Top Chef) who is cute as a button named Fabio. Straight from Italy. He's making old fashioned spaghetti and meatballs and my tongue was hanging out.
Two things surprised me -- one he instructs you to put a few drops of olive oil in the palm of your hands like hand lotion and then roll the meatballs and it will make them smoother.
Ok, nice tip, but what surprised me is he put the raw meatballs into the sauce that was cooking. I always thought you cook the sauce in one pot, the meatballs in a frying pan and then combine them. Fabio said that putting the raw meat in the pot "keeps the moist in."
I went to this show's site to look at the recipe and here it is:
FABIO’S MOM’S MEATBALLS
This is probably the best meatball you ever had in your life, or perhaps second only to the one your grandma makes. It’s certainly easier, because there is no bothering Grandma here. The best thing about these meatballs is that they stay super moist regardless of how much you cook or overcook them. The tomato sauce preserves the moisture. Everything about meatballs calls for soft and moist. Everything about cooking something in the oven calls for hot and dry. Soft and moist does not go with hot and dry, so meatballs should be cooked on the stovetop in marinara sauce.
1 lb. ground beef
4 oz. whole milk ricotta cheese
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 cups Fabio’s Tomato Sauce (see recipe on page 18)
Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Place all ingredients except the tomato sauce, the parsley, and the extra-virgin olive oil in a medium-size bowl and mix thoroughly by hand until they are completely combined and the mixture is uniformly firm.
Coat your hands in olive oil, and form balls slightly bigger than a golf ball.
Heat the tomato sauce in a saucepan over medium heat, then drop the meatballs into the sauce and add enough water to allow the sauce to reduce and simmer but not so much that the sauce is totally liquid. Cook for about 10 minutes on one side, then turn the meatballs over, add some more water, and cook for another 10 minutes, using a spoon to cover the meatballs with the sauce as they simmer. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes.
Serve with chopped parsley, salt and pepper, more Parmigiano-Reggiano, and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, of course!
and here's Fabio and the book he was promoting on the show: