Sunday, January 9, 2011

Meatballs on Top of Mushrooms

I got a little creative the other day when I opened my fridge and wondered what I could make with the leftover meatballs other than reheating them with more spaghetti or making a sandwich.

I came up with these Meatballs on top of mushrooms!

Meatballs On Top Of Mushrooms
Prepare the large mushroom caps by wiping off some of the soil with a soft brush or towel. Gently break off the stems, place on an oiled baking sheet, sprinkle with a little Parmesan cheese and top with meatballs. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 -30 minutes until mushrooms look tender.

When done, turn off oven, remove sheet with meatballs and top with a good mozzerella (or provolone) and return to oven for a few minutes until cheese melts in the residual heat.

The meatball recipe comes from "We Called It Macaroni" by Nancy Verde Barr, a local chef, who went back to her roots in Southern Italy to create this wonderful authentic cookbook of Southern Italian food. I actually met her at Brown University when she was promoting her book (back in 1990 I think!). I signed up for her lecture and cooking demonstration that was followed by a fantastic Italian meal. I've loved her cookbook ever since and have never made a meatball from another cookbook, ever.  

These meatballs are very tender, indeed, and everyone who has tried one has fallen in love.

Meatballs (polpettini)

1 lb ground beef (I've tried 93%, but 85% tastes best)
4 large eggs, beaten (this is the secret to these tender meatballs)
1 cup dried breadcrumbs (I've used all different kinds and it doesn't matter, choose your favorite)
1/3 cup dark raisins (optional)
1/4 cup grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups tomato sauce

Mix all the ingredients (I omitted raisins this time), except the sauce, and blend well.  Wet hands and roll into desired-size meatballs. Drop directly into the simmering sauce and cook 30 minutes or until cooked through.  

She notes that these meatballs are so tender they should not be cooked by sauteing in a pan on the stovetop.

Usually, I don't cook the meatballs in the sauce.  I don't know - it just bothers me that the fat will be added to my sauce.  I've done it on occasion and it all tastes great, of course.  But I choose to cook mine in the oven on a baking sheet at 350 degrees for about 20 - 30 minutes, depending on their size.  Then I add them to my sauce for about one hour.

I think I'd like to try this dish again with smaller meatballs and in individual casserole dishes loaded with gooey cheese. And for individual appetizers sometime, maybe I'd use smaller mushrooms with smaller meatballs to make them bite size.


  1. This looks delicious. What do you mean by "good" mozzarella? Is there mozzarella that's especially bad? Naughty cheese.
    And I must admit, I always cook the meatballs in my sauce, even though it's much healthier not to do so. But I love the fat! Bad girl. Naughty, naughty.

  2. You naughty, naughty girl! Hope you use low fat ground beef in those meatballs! Well, if you must, combining it all does save time and energy.

  3. This is mouthwatering..I had to find your blog over the twitter, you didn't post it on foodbuzz!
    Anyhow..I have to try is brilliant idea!

  4. Thanks! Amazing the ideas that can pop into my head sometime.