Pat LaFrieda’s first introduction to the meat world was in the summer of 1981, when he was just ten years old and learning the tricks of the trade at his father’s butchering business. Thirty years later, Pat, his father, and cousin own and operate New York City’s most prestigious and valued meatpacking facility. Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors supplies the finest restaurants in New York City, Philadelphia, DC, Las Vegas, Miami, Chicago, and more. More information can be found at www.lafrieda.com. His new book from sister company Simon & Schuster, Meat: Everything You Need to Know, is available now wherever books are sold.
For true meat lovers, a beautifully prepared cut of beef, pork, lamb, veal, or poultry is not just the center of the meal, it is the reason for eating. No one understands meat’s seductive hold on our palates better than America’s premier butcher, Pat LaFrieda. In Meat: Everything You Need to Know, Pat presents the ultimate book of everything meat. Featuring more than seventy-five mouthwatering recipes, Meat passionately explains the best and most flavorful cuts to purchase (some of them surprisingly inexpensive or unknown) and shares delicious recipes and meticulous techniques, all with the knowledge that comes from a third generation butcher.
In this excerpt from Meat: Everything You Need to Know, Lafrieda shares his Pork Meatballs with Toasted Pignoli and Golden Raisins recipe in which he intertwines heartwarming personal reminiscences with a delectable recipe for the entire family.
Pork Meatballs With Toasted Pignoli And Golden Raisins
Makes three dozen meatballs.
For these meatballs, I borrowed the idea of adding pignoli (pine nuts) and golden raisins from my grandfather’s Pork Braciole (also in the cookbook). They’re the best meatballs in the world. Traditionally, Italian meatballs are cooked in red sauce. If I happen to be making both these and red sauce at the same time, I might throw the meatballs into the sauce, but they don’t need it. They’re so flavorful that I like to bake them and eat them straight from the oven. They’re always the first thing done when I’m cooking a big meal, so I snack on them. With leftovers, I make a sandwich with nothing but crusty bread, meatballs, and additional provolone.
- ⅔ cup pine nuts
- 2 pounds chopped (ground) pork
- 1⅓ cups golden raisins
- 1 cup italian-style breadcrumbs
- 6 ounces grated pecorino romano
- cheese (about 1¾ cups) or half
pecorino, half parmigiano-
- 3 ounces aged provolone cheese,
cut into ¼-inch cubes
- ⅔ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
- In a medium skillet, toast the pine nuts over medium heat, shaking the pan often,
until golden brown all over, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the pine nuts to a plate so they
don’t continue cooking, and set them aside to cool to room temperature.
- Put the pork in a large bowl. Add the pine nuts, raisins, breadcrumbs, pecorino,
provolone, parsley, eggs, garlic, salt, and pepper. Gently work the ingredients
together with your fingertips. Don’t overwork the meat or press it together, or your
meatballs will be tough and heavy. Roll the meat into 36 balls (about 21/2 ounces each,
a little bigger than golf balls).
- Lay the meatballs in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake them until they are
cooked through, about 20 minutes. Let the meatballs cool slightly before removing
them from the pan.
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