Tuscano Meatballs

Simi Winery

16275 Healdsburg Ave.
Healdsburg, CA 95448

This is a recipe that is loosly based off of my nonna's recipe. I have changed around some of the ingredients to give the meatballs a little California influence. It has a richness that accents SIMI's Reserve Cabernet. If you'd like, serve the meatballs and sauce with slices of grilled rustic country bread drizzled with olive oil.

  • 3/4 pound boneless pork butt, cut into 1-inch squares
  • 3/4 pound boneless beef short ribs, cut into 1-inch squares
  • 1/2 pound focaccia, cut into 1-inch squares
  • 3 ounces pork back fat, cut into 1-inch squares
  • 3 ounces pancetta, cut into 1-inch squares
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 teaspoons fennel pollen
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 can (28 ounces) pureed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


In a large bowl, combine the pork, beef, focaccia, pork back fat, pancetta, parsley, oregano, fennel pollen, red pepper flakes, black pepper and 1 tablespoon of the salt and mix until blended. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Using a meat grinder, grind the meat mixture into a large bowl.

In another bowl, stir together the ricotta, eggs and milk. Transfer the ricotta mixture to the bowl with the ground meat mixture and mix lightly until incorporated. Refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the meat mixture to absorb the liquid.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Form the meat mixture into balls, each 1 1/2 to 2 ounces, and place on the prepared baking sheets. You should have about 35 meatballs.

Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 275°F.

In a blender, combine the tomatoes and the remaining 2 tablespoons salt and blend until a coarse sauce forms. Transfer the sauce to a roasting pan and place the meatballs in the sauce, making sure they are coated with the sauce. Add the basil to the sauce. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and then with aluminum foil. Transfer to the oven and braise for 1 1/2 hours. 

Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top and serve.

Simi Winery

16275 Healdsburg Ave.
Healdsburg, CA 95448