Braised Tuscan Meatballs
Photo by Brent Harewyn


Chris Alberti likes to braise these meatballs—a mix of beef, pork and turkey—in a dry, unoaked Pinot Grigio. “Choose something affordable with a little acidity,” he says. He serves the meatballs with broccoli rabe sautéed with garlic and a hunk of crusty bread to soak up the winey braising liquid.

Serves 8, as a main course

2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1½ pounds ground beef, 80–90% lean
½ pound ground pork
½ pound ground turkey
2 cups grated Pecorino-Romano cheese
1 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
4 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and black pepper
3 large eggs, beaten
Olive oil, for cooking
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
4 to 5 sprigs fresh rosemary
½ bottle Pinot Grigio, for cooking

Soak the breadcrumbs in about a ½ cup of water to moisten.

Combine the beef, pork and turkey in a large bowl and knead gently with your hands. Squeeze excess water out of the soaked bread and add to the meat along with the cheese, parsley and garlic; season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the eggs and knead to combine.

Dividing evenly, form the meat into 20 to 25 meatballs, depending on your size preference. Refrigerate the meatballs for at least an hour.

Heat ¼ cup of olive oil in a large, high-sided skillet over mediumhigh heat. Add the meatballs without crowding the pan and cook until the meatballs are browned on one side. The meatballs will release naturally from the pan when they are sufficiently browned. You may need to lower the heat to prevent burning. Turn the meatballs over and brown them on the other side. Remove to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet and continue to cook the meatballs in batches until they are browned, adding additional olive oil to the skillet as necessary.

Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the oil from the skillet and add the onions and rosemary sprigs; cook, stirring often, until the onions are quite soft and starting to brown. Add the wine; scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Once the wine has started to reduce, add the meatballs back to the skillet and cook over medium heat until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce is reduced by about half.

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