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Author Notes: I moved to Texas from Rhode Island 27 years ago, and I love it here, the weather, the people, the culture, all of it - but one thing I miss to this day is a good meatball grinder. I decided to take lamb week and rectify the situation ... so here you go, a Rhode Island meatball grinder from a Naturalized Texan .... —aargersi
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 1/2 cup finely minced onion
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 cup fresh bread - ripped up (I used the hollowed out centers of my rolls)
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 4 good sprigs of fresh oregano
- olive oil
- Heat the oven to 400. Whisk together the milk and egg, season with salt and pepper then add the bread and mix it all together thoroughly.
- Pull the oregano leaves off the stems and chop them up. In a large bowl, mix together the lamb, oregano, parmesan, onion and garlic. Then add the milk and bread mixture and work it all together evenly. Use you hands - it's fun! You might add a bit more salt and pepper too (before your hands get all lamby)
- Heat a large skillt to medium high, and just cover the bottom with olive oil. While the skillet is heating form your meatballs - make them about ping-pong ball sized, you should get 20 to 22 meatballs. Wash your hands.
- Cover a cookie sheet with foil and lightly coat it with olive oil.
- Cook the meatballs in the skillet for several minutes, until the first side you put in has a nice brown on it, then transfer them to the cookie sheet and into the oven to finish cooking. This will take maybe 10-15 minutes depending on your oven. When the meatballs are cooked, remove them from the oven and set them aside on a plate. Leave the oven on.
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 1 - 28 ounces can of San Marzano tomatoes (juice and all)
- 1/4 cup dry red wine
- 4 good sprigs fresh oregano
- 4 large fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- 4 rolls - I found fresh soft egg rolls that were intended to be hot dog buns, perfect sized, but go with what looks good!
- sliced fontina cheese - a lot or a little depending on how much you love cheese. I went with a lot.
- Cover the bottom of a largeish saucepan with olive oil, and heat to medium high. Saute the onions for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Add the tomatoes, then rinse the can with red wine and pour that in too. Add a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper, along with the sugar, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until the liquid has reduced down some. You don't want a thin sauce.
- Turn off the heat. Using an immersion blender (or transfer to a blender or processor) and blend the sauce thoroughly, then add the fresh herbs (discard the stems) and blend those in too. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and you're done!
- Assemble your grinders - cut the top 1/4 or so off the rolls and hollow them out so you have bread "canoes". My canoes kept wanting to tip over so I made each one it's own little aluminum foil support structure to sit in. A canoe in a canoe. Put 2-3 tbs of sauce in each roll then add meatballs to fill them, I was able to fit 4 meatballs per roll. Then top with more sauce (I like a LOT of sauce but this is entirely up to you) and finish them by topping with fontina cheese - again how much is up to you.
- Into the oven with them until the cheese is nice and melted. At this point you can run them under the broiler for a little extra golden crust on the cheese. My broiler stinks though so it didn't work that great (note to self - new stove)
- Take them out, and ENJOY!!!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Meatballs
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Spring Lamb