With Bill Dixon
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1 Pound Each Ground Pork, Ground Veal, 85% Lean Ground Beef, Sweet Italian Sausage
2 Teaspoons Salt
8 Grinds Fresh Ground Pepper
1 Tablespoon Dried Italian Seasoning
½ - 1 Teaspoon Fennel Seeds, Finely Chopped (Optional)
4 Large Eggs
1 Medium-Large Sweet Onion Finely Diced
4 Spring Onions Diced
1 Cup Dry Italian Bread Crumbs
1 Cup Grated or Shredded Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano Cheese
½ Cup Chopped Fresh Italian Parsley
4 Large Cloves Fresh Garlic Minced
2-3 Cups Whole Milk
1 14 Ounce Loaf Day Old Italian Bread
First, slice the Italian bread into 3/4" slices and remove the crust. Place the sliced bread into a large bowl. Add 2 cups of whole milk, and thoroughly saturate the bread slices. If the bread is dense to begin with, you may need to add in the third cup of milk. You don't want the bread swimming in milk but you do want it to be really moist. Different breads have different textures, so the actual amount of milk you use will have to be played by ear. Some Italian Chefs use water to soak the bread, and then squeeze out the excess water. I prefer the milk. Maybe it's just my Southern Redneck nature. Set the soaked bread aside while you prepare the meat.
Making The Meat Mixture:
In a suitable size mixing bowl, pinch off clumps of each of the four ground meats, evenly add, and disperse into the bowl. Using your hands, gently blend the different meats together trying not to overwork, or too firmly pack the meat.
Next, add the salt and ground pepper gently blending into the meat.
Whisk the four eggs together until lightly beaten and add to the meat, blending evenly throughout.
Next add in half of the diced onions, diced spring onions, chopped fresh
parsley, Italian seasoning, minced garlic, and finely chopped fennel seeds. Blend all of these ingredients into the meat. Add the remaining half of the above ingredients and blend into the mixture. I like to do this in stages because it helps to disperse, and more evenly blend everything together without overworking the meat.
Next add your grated or shredded cheese. Adding a half cup, mix, and then the second half cup.
Now you are ready to start mixing in the soaked bread. However before you do, you will want to pull the soaked bread apart into little pieces with your fingers. Add small pieces of bread in small amounts, and blend in.
After all the bread has been mixed into the meat, add about half a cup of the dry Italian bread crumbs to start "tightening up" your mix. You will want to add enough dry Italian bread crumbs so your meat mixture will hold securely together when formed into balls. But don't overdo the dry crumbs. You don't want to end up with dry, heavy meatballs. You should not need to add more than one cup total of dry Italian bread crumbs.
Form Your Meatballs:
Using an Ice Cream Scooper, scoop out evenly sized portions of meat mixture, and drop them onto a wax paper lined sheet pan.
The scooper makes the process go faster, cleaner, and more importantly, makes all of your meatballs the same size so they will cook evenly.
After you have portioned out all of your meat with the scooper, using your hands, lightly roll, and form into finished balls.
Place a wire rack onto a baking pan or sheet, and spray with cooking spray. Evenly space, and place the formed balls onto the rack.
Bake in a preheated 400 degree F oven. If you used a standard size ice cream scooper, baking time is 30-40 minutes, or until internal meat temperature in the center of your meatballs reaches 165 degree F.
Smaller size meatballs will require your cooking time be adjusted less accordingly.
Now you are ready to add the meatballs to your favorite sauce. Or simply eat them as they are. I will freeze many to have on hand as I wish at a later time.
This Recipe Yields Approximately Thirty 2 1/2" Diameter Meatballs.