Sicilian Meatballs in Pork Ragu Recipe

Sicilian Meatballs in Pork Ragu Recipe
  • Yield:4-6
  • Active time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total time:4 hours


  • For Pork Ragu:
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 lbs pork shoulder, bone-in, cut into pieces
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 stalk cerely, diced
  • 1 large carrots, diced
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 3 28 ounce cans peeled Italian plum tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • For Meatballs
  • 2 cups dried crustless bread cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 ¼ pounds ground beef
  • 2 eggs, beaten to combine
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • 1/4 cup parsely, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup pinenuts
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil


  1. 1.

    To Make Ragu: Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Season pork shoulder with salt. Add pork shoulder to pot. Let the pork form a brown crust, about two minutes. Add vegetables to pot. Continue to turn meat until it has browned on all sides, about 8 minutes.

  2. 2.

    Add wine to the pot. Let it cook until it has mostly evaporated, about four minutes. Add tomatoes to pot, either crushing them with your hands as you add them in, or using a wooden spoon to break up the pieces. Add salt, bay leaves, and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine.

  3. 3.

    Let sauce come to a simmer and continue to cook for 2 ½ hours. During this time, the ragu should maintain a gentle but steady simmer, so adjust heat accordingly. Stir ragu about every 20 minutes, making sure that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.

  4. 4.

    After 2 ½ take ragu off heat. Remove meat from pot. Throw out the bones. Shred the meat and add it back to the pot. Set ragu aside for meatballs

  5. 5.

    To Make Meatballs: Take out a baking sheet and set aside. Soak bread in milk until soft, about three minutes. In a large mixing bowl, combine ground beef, eggs, garlic, parmigiano, parsley, pine nuts, raisins, salt, and pepper. Squeeze the bread with your hands to remove excess milk, then add to bowl. Using your hands, mix ingredients until evenly combined.

  6. 6.

    Roll about 1/3 cup of meat between your hands to form a meatball. Place on baking sheet. Continue to form meatballs with remainder of meat mixture, creating 12 large meatballs in total.

  7. 7.

    Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. When oil is hot but not smoking, add meatballs to pan. Cook meatballs, turning every few minutes, until golden brown on all sides but not completely cooked through, about ten minutes. Transfer meatballs from skillet to pot of ragu. Let meatballs simmer in ragu over medium heat for 15 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley and grated parmigiano if desired.