When you think comfort food, spaghetti and meatballs automatically comes to mind – especially if you’re like me and hail from partially Italian descent.
Growing up, my maternal grandmother, Joan, would always make THE BEST meatballs. And even to this day, despite the cuisine of some of the finest restaurants in the Hamptons, Hollywood, and everywhere in between, no meatball has quite measured up.
So who’s Nonie? When I was a wee tyke I had potentially the most adorable speech impediment (which I thankfully outgrew), and so instead of calling my grandmother “Gram,” the grandmotherly moniker she would have preferred, I opted to call her by her first name; Joan. But remember, I had a speech issue, so the sound that came out of my mouth was more like “Noan.” Later, in an effort to de-formalize the title, I addd the “ie” and she became “Nonie.” It happens to be pure coincidence that in Italian, the word for grandmother is “Nona.”
Nonie, to this day, in all of her 80+ year old glory, still makes the most BOMB meatballs. And perhaps an upside to the traditional feminine gender roles of Nonie’s era is the delicious home cooking that was spawned. And we all have so many ingenious women to thank for said recipes.
But without further ado, let’s get to Nonie’s meatballs. They are melt-in-your-mouth fantastic and are the perfect complement to any pasta dish. However, they’re versatile enough to be used in a variety of ethnic dishes if you simply leave out the tomato sauce.
– 1/2 lb ground beef
– 1/2 lb ground pork or lamb
– 4-8 slices of stale Italian bread, soaked in water & squeezed out well
– 1.5 gloves of garlic, finely chopped
– 1 tsp salt
– 1 T parsley
– 2 eggs
– 1 T chopped onion
– 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
– soak and squeeze the bread and tear into pieces (if not in pieces already)
– Combine everything together in a bowl and mix
– Form into balls
– Fry lightly on all sides in a pan with your favorite oil
– On a separate burner, slowly simmer your favorite pasta sauce
– Drop balls into sauce to simmer until they’re cooked through.