Sicilian Lamb Meatballs with Vin Cotto

Twomey Cellars

3000 Westside Rd
Healdsburg, CA 95448

  • RECIPE YEAR: 2013
  • RECIPE BY: Dominic Orsini
  • YIELD: Serves 8
  • PAIRS WELL WITH: Twomey Merlot or Pinot Noir

This hors d'oeuvre pairs beautifully with red wine and can be prepared in advance. At the winery, we make our own vin cotto ("cooked wine) in the Old World method by slowly simmering wine lees for four to five days. This produces a rich, sweet condiment sauce with a consistency similar to that of a well-aged balsamic vinegar. Vin cotto can be found at gourmet grocery stores, or use aged balsamic.

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup diced preserved lemon (small dice)
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, toasted
  • 1/4 cup olives, chopped
  • Small bottle of vin cotto or 20-year balsamic


Preheat the oven to 500°F. 

In a small sauté pan over very low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the shallots are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the pepper, coriander and salt and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a plate and let cool.

In a small bowl, scramble the eggs together and add the cooled shallot mixture. 

Place the ground lamb in a large bowl and add the egg mixture, bread crumbs, preserved lemon, pistachios and olives. Mix thoroughly together by hand and roll into little meatballs.

Place the meatballs on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. To serve, skewer each meatball with a toothpick and place them on a platter. Drizzle with vin cotto.

Twomey Cellars

3000 Westside Rd
Healdsburg, CA 95448