Today’s recipe is a great addition to any potluck or buffet meals. I love it also for picnics and barbecues and it works perfectly fine both in winter and summer… it is one of those versatile recipes that is good to have handy any time of the year. Agrodolce means “sour and sweet” in Italian and it is quite common, especially in Sicily where you’ll often find raisins and pine nuts in the sauce too. It appears that this method of cooking was introduced to the island by the Arabs and I guess that’s also where the use of raisins and pine nuts comes from. I have a thing for anything sweet & sour, so these meatballs have had a place of honour in many of my buffets. What I like the most is that they can be cooked in advance and kept in the fridge. Actually, they taste better when eaten at least 24 hours after they have been cooked. Remember to bring them back to room temperature before serving them. Enjoy!
Beef Meatballs Agrodolce
A great dish for your next potluck party: Beef Meatballs Agrodolce!
- 450 gms – 1 lb. beef mince
- 50 gms – 1.75 oz. Parmigiano Reggiano finely grated
- 100 gms – 3.5 oz. breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp parsley chopped
- 1 pinch grated nutmeg
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 pinch pepper
Agrodolce (Italian sweet and sour) sauce
- 1 tbsp parsley chopped
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 anchovies
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 stalk celery chopped
- 4 tbsp tomato purée passata
- 2 tbsp raisins
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 sage leaves
- 1 tsp dry rosemary
- 30 ml – 1 oz. white wine
- 30 ml – 1 oz. water
- 25 ml – 0.85 oz. red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Salt to taste
Put the mince, Parmigiano Reggiano, breadcrumbs, egg, nutmeg, 1 tbsp of chopped parsley, 1 tsp of salt and 1 pinch of pepper in a bowl. Mix all the ingredients very well using your hands. Make meatballs of the size of a big cherry and keep them aside.
In the meantime, chop the onion, celery and the remaining parsley and put them in a sauce pan together with the tomato purée (passata) and 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Add the rosemary, bay leaf, sage, raisins, pine nuts and anchovies and put the pan on a low fire. Stir regularly.
As soon as the anchovies melt, add the meatballs and brown them. Add the wine and as soon as the alcohol evaporates, add water and salt and cover. Let it cook on a slow fire for 20 minutes or until the onion has collapsed and the meatballs are cooked through, adding some water if required. Then dissolve the sugar in the vinegar and add it to the pan. Let it evaporate on a high flame for a couple of minutes and then put the fire off.
When ready, transfer them to an air tight container and keep in the fridge at least overnight before serving them at room temperature.