Cast Iron

Chickie's Fried Meatballs and Sunday Sauce

August  9, 2010
0 Ratings
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

My grandmother is a unique lady. Her nickname is Chickie, given by me at 2 years old, and it has stuck so hard that even people in the stores she shops in call her that. She was born and raised in NYC but is 100% Italian and will tell anyone who listens that Italian food is not only the best but nothing even comes close to comparison. To her the only food is Italian food. Although we all might not agree with her, you do not cross Chickie otherwise you don't get her meatballs!! These meatballs can be eaten without the tomato gravy (because as Chickie says it is a gravy not a sauce!!!) they are that delish or eaten traditionally with gravy, rigatoni, and a dollop of ricotta. That's my favorite anyway. Also, if you have an 85 year old grandfather that will grate fresh parmesan that he keeps wrapped in a wet washcloth in the bottom of the fridge, that will really make this meal the best one you ever had. Couple of tips, use a spoon to turn your meatballs so they don't break, it makes it really easy, and when rolling the meatballs if your hands are slightly wet the meat wont stick :) Enjoy! —Cristina34

What You'll Need
  • Yummy Fried Meatballs
  • 1 pound meatloaf mix (beef, veal, pork)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
  • 1/2 loaf bakery style italian bread (day old)
  • 2 eggs
  • fresh pepper to taste
  • Simple Meat Gravy
  • 1 pound country style pork ribs
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 2 16 ounces cans of crushed tomatos
  • 1 16 ounces can of tomato puree
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 pounds rigatoni
  1. Yummy Fried Meatballs
  2. Soak day old italian bread in warm water for a couple minutes until water is absorbed by the bread. Peel off the crust and take the remaining insides of the bread and squeeze until most of the water is out. .
  3. In bowl combine meat, cheese, the moist bread, and the two eggs. Use hands to fold meat into itself until all ingredients are evenly combined. Do not over mix it will make the meat tough. Use fresh pepper to taste.
  4. Cover the bottom of a large frying pan with about an 1/4 of canola oil. heat this on medium-high.
  5. Roll meatballs with hands into balls slightly bigger than golf balls and place gingerly into frying pan. Fry for about 3 minutes on each side. The meatballs should still be raw in the middle as they will cook in the sauce.
  6. Remove meatballs from frying pan and put on a plate covered with a paper towel to soak up some of the grease.
  1. Simple Meat Gravy
  2. Salt and pepper pork ribs liberally.
  3. Heat up a cast iron pot to medium-high heat, add the pork ribs and brown on each side (about 2 minutes per side). Remove the pork.
  4. In the same pot, cover the bottom with good olive oil and heat up on medium heat. Chop up garlic and add to pot.
  5. Once garlic is browned, add can of tomato paste and spread on bottom of pot. Let cook for about 30 seconds then add 16 ounces of water. Add salt to taste and bring to boil. Cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Add the crushed tomatoes and tomato puree. Add basil to taste (usually about 12-15 leaves).
  7. Add pork back to sauce, bring to boil.
  8. Reduce down to a simmer and let cook for 45 minutes.
  9. SECRET INGREDIENT - This is what makes the sauce taste so amazing. Once the oil from the meatballs has cooled down sufficiently add half of it to the sauce and mix.
  10. Add cooked meatballs to sauce and let cook for 15 minutes.
  11. Cook pasta according to box and pour liberal amounts of sauce, serve with meatballs, pork ribs and freshly grated parmesan cheese & black pepper to taste.
  12. ENJOY!
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • lapadia
  • Cristina34

3 Reviews

Cristina34 August 16, 2010
Oh yes that is my favorite part!!! Glad you enjoyed the story :)
lapadia August 12, 2010
I love these kind of Sunday meals. My grandfather use to be the cheese grater from a large wedge of Pecorino Romano before our meals too, we would watch and wait for him to break off a little piece to nibble on...thanks for bringing back the memories!
Cristina34 August 16, 2010
Oh yes that is my favorite part!!! Glad you enjoyed the story :)