ButcherBox’s tasty ground beef and pork are the base for a meatball mixture that has all the usual additions, as well as airy-rich focaccia to soften and tenderize. Focaccia gets used twice—in the meatballs themselves, and also as a crunchy topping in the form of garlicky bread crumbs.
- 12 oz focaccia
- 3 tbsp olive oil plus more for forming meatballs and serving
- 6 cloves garlic finely grated or minced
- Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 2 cups finely chopped yellow onion
- 1 cup finely chopped parsley plus more whole leaf or chopped parsley for serving
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp fennel seed
- 1 tsp 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tsp chili flakes
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 can tomato purée (28 oz.)
- 1 lb ButcherBox Ground Beef
- 1 lb ButcherBox Ground Pork
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Tear or chop the focaccia into small pieces, no bigger than marble-size bread crumbs, into a large bowl. Transfer half of them to a sheet pan and toss with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 3 cloves of the garlic, then season with salt. Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake, tossing them every few minutes with a metal spatula, until golden, about 7–9 minutes.
- Pour the milk into the focaccia bowl and toss the bread and milk together by hand, making sure the bread is fully saturated. Add (but don’t mix in yet) 1 cup of the onion, the remaining garlic, eggs, parsley, fennel seed, black pepper, chili flakes, and 4 teaspoons salt. Rinse your hands and let that sit for 10 minutes.
- Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat and add the remaining onion, a big pinch of salt, and cook, stirring regularly until the onions are soft and translucent, about 7–9 minutes. Stir in the tomato purée, bring to a simmer, turn the heat down to low, cover with a lid, and cook, stirring every few minutes, for about 20 minutes to heat the tomato and meld flavors. Season with salt: taste, add more if needed and even a splash or two of water if the sauce gets too thick for your liking.
- Mix everything in the soaked focaccia with your hands to combine well. Add the ground beef and pork and gently work into the mixture until just combined with the mixture. (Overworking the meat into the mixture can result in rubbery meatballs!)
- Line the sheet pan with parchment paper, lightly oil your hands with olive oil, and start forming the meat mixture into handball-size balls. Place them on the tray, evenly spaced. You should end up with 22–23 balls. Bake until lightly browned and cooked through, measuring 145°F (62.8 °C ) with a thermometer inserted, about 25 minutes.
- To serve, heat the tomato sauce and ladle on to plates, top with the meatballs, garlic bread crumbs, whole parsley leaves, and a drizzle of olive oil.
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