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.
[email protected] in disguise says
I am in love with sweet and sour combinations. I have tried raisins in tomato sauces before and they are indeed amazing
Can’t wait to try this one Manuela
Kim Bee says
Manu, these are amazing meatballs. My mom used to make something similar and I just love them. I adore how they are one of those foods that tastes better the next day. Great photos.
This has already been printed out and filed and, I am certain, will become a fast favourite! Had misplaced my previous recipe ages ago and so love the earthy strong flavours of the mixture and the sauce. And being able to precook whilst not rushing always endears me to a recipe! Thanks!
suzanne Perazzini says
What a great collection of photos to show the process of creating this dish. I too find that these types of dishes can be better the next day once all the flavours have developed.
easy recipes for dinner says
Seemed difficult to prepare but was really easy. Thanks to the instructions here I was able to make this lovely dish for my brother’s family. And they simply loved it.