Meatballs with Currants and Pine Nuts Recipe on Food52

Make Ahead

Meatballs with Currants and Pine Nuts

August 20, 2019
2 Ratings
Author Notes

This is a twist on the basic meatball recipe that appears in my book, I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti. They are great over spaghetti, of course, or as a party snack. I made 300 of them for Food 52's Piglet Awards! - Giulia Melucci —Giulia Melucci

Test Kitchen Notes

The meatballs were scrumptious — we LOVED the pine nuts and thought they were really clever, adding a lot of flavor and texture. I couldn't find dried currants, so I used 1/4 cup of golden raisins and chopped them so they were about the same size as the pine nuts — really good. The sauce took on the flavor of the meatballs and complimented them nicely. - drbabs —The Editors

  • Serves about 20
  • For meatballs
  • 1 pound chopped beef, preferably chuck (a fatty cut is better here)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup plain bread crumbs—if you have stale bread you want to run through the food processor, so much the better
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 more tablespoons reserved or browning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup Italian parley, chopped
  • For sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 28 ounces can chopped or whole (the better choice) tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, packed
In This Recipe
  1. Throw all the meatball ingredients into a large bowl and blend well with your hands. Shape into balls (you choose the size).
  2. In a large skillet, best the reserves 2 tablespoons of olive oil and saute the meatballs until they are browned on all sides. Remove to a plate lined with two paper towels.
  3. For the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat, then add the tomatoes (and their juices, breaking them up with your hands, if using whole, which you really should be), and tomato paste. Add wine, sugar, salt, and meatballs. Bring to a simmer, then lower hear to medium-low; cook, stirring often, for 40 minutes. Serve garnished with basil leaves.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • iuzzini
  • drbabs
  • TheWimpyVegetarian
  • Midge
  • lastnightsdinner

    11 Reviews

    iuzzini October 17, 2010
    This is a great recipe! My family always makes them with raisins and pignolis so I will be sure to try currants next time!
    Author Comment
    Giulia M. October 17, 2010
    They're a little more delicate. Buon appetito!
    drbabs August 20, 2010
    Hi Giulia--i'm making these for Editors' Pick and I just bought your book!
    Author Comment
    Giulia M. August 20, 2010
    Yay! Thanks.
    TheWimpyVegetarian August 19, 2010
    I would love to make these! Do you use dried currants or fresh? I'm thinking dried, but not sure.
    Author Comment
    Giulia M. August 19, 2010
    Dried. Hope you like them!
    drbabs August 9, 2010
    Love the currants and pine nuts--great recipe!
    Midge August 9, 2010
    Saving this recipe for sure.
    lastnightsdinner August 8, 2010
    You're a ringer ;)
    mrslarkin August 8, 2010
    These sound fab! Love the wine label, too.
    lapadia August 8, 2010
    Yum, your picture could be on the front of a magazine!