Serious Eats: Recipes

Cook the Book: Meatballs al Forno

[Photograph: Sara Remington]

Nancy Silverton had traditional Italian cuisine on the mind when writing menus for Osteria Mozza but when it came to Pizzeria Mozza she made one Italian-American exception on the menu for meatballs. And it was a happy exception: these Meatballs al Forno adapted from The Mozza Cookbook ended up being the most popular antipasto on the menu.

Of course, knowing Silverton's style no one would expect her meatballs to be the mealy, breadcrumby softballs that many pizzerias pass off. Silverton's a meaty mix of fatty ground pork and veal with pancetta and a good kick of red pepper flakes. They're bound with eggs and just enough stale bread softened in milk. Formed, floured, and pan browned, the meatballs are simmered not just red sauce but Silverton's all-purpose tomato sauce, Passata de Pomodoro mixed with chicken stock, chiles, and bay leaves.

Just like Pizzeria Mozza isn't you're average pizza joint, these meatballs are hardly the ones that most of us are familiar with. Taking the time to accent each element of the dish with big flavors like garlic, pancetta, and chiles, Silverton has brought the workaday meatball up to the ranks of the rest of her Mozza menu.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Mozza Cookbook to give away this week.

Adapted from The Mozza Cookbook by Nancy Silverton with Matt Molina and Carolynn Carreño. Copyright © 2011. Published by Alfred A. Knof. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved

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