A delicious alternative to traditional meatballs.
- ¾ cup 1-inch cubed baguette (from 1/8 baguette, about 2 ½", 1 oz)
- ½ cup whole milk
- 1 pound 6 oz tuna, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 ounces pancetta, ground by butcher (or substitute finely diced, about ¼ cup)
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ tablespoon thinly sliced garlic (about 2 cloves)
- 1 whole egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon loosely packed chopped Italian parsley
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Basic tomato sauce
- Place food processor bowl and blade in refrigerator until cold, about 10 minutes.
- Soak the bread in milk for 1/2 hour then squeeze milk from bread.
- Pulse tuna, soaked bread, and pancetta, in food processor until ground (you don't want to run it so much that it heats up).
- Place the mixture in a large bowl and refrigerate.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 10-12" saute pan over medium heat.
- Add the garlic and cook until translucent (about 1 ½ minutes).
- Transfer oil and garlic to a bowl and place in refrigerator to cool.
- Add the cooled garlic and oil, egg, water, parsley, and red pepper flakes to bowl with ground tuna.
- Season with ½ teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper and mix well (your cleaned hands work best for this).
- Heat tomato sauce in a 6-quart pot over low heat.
- Form one small meat patty with the mixture from from the mixing bowl.
- Heat a little olive oil in a small saute pan and cook meat patty through on both sides (about 4 minutes total) and taste for seasoning.
- Adjust seasoning in mixture if necessary.
- Form mixture into 20 meatballs (about 1 ¾" round, about 1 ¼ oz each).
- Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a 10-12" saute pan over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking.
- Cook meatballs in batches until lightly browned all over (about 6 to 8 minutes).
- As meatballs are finished, transfer them to the tomato sauce and simmer, partially covered, for one hour on very low heat.
- Occasionally stir the sauce gently.