Rao's Famous Meatballs
This recipe comes to us from Rao’s Italian restaurant, a cornerstone in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York since 1896 — and now in SoCal, with our very own Rao’s Hollywood.
Rao’s is known for its simple, Italian home cooking and a gritty elegance that has long attracted celebrities, perhaps most famously, Martin Scorsese. One of the former owners, Frankie No — nicknamed for his legendary reservation book, which filled up four months in advance — even had a role in Goodfellas.
1 pound ground lean beef
½ pound ground veal
½ pound ground pork
2 large eggs
1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese (about 3 or 4 oz)
1 ½ tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
1 small garlic clove, peeled and minced
2 cups fine bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp Rao’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 jar of Rao’s Marinara Sauce
Pecorino Romano and parsley for garnish
- Combine beef, veal, and pork in a large bowl. Add the eggs, cheese, parsley, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Using your hands, blend ingredients together.
- Blend bread crumbs into meat mixture. If the mixture is dry, slowly add water until it’s quite moist.
- Shape the meat mixture into balls (2 ½ to 3-inch balls). Tip: Use a large ice cream scoop to portion the meatballs — if they’re a consistent size, they’ll cook more evenly.
- Heat the olive in a large pan. When oil is hot, fry the meatballs in batches, turning regularly, until they’re browned evenly on all sides. Remove from heat and drain on paper towels.
- In a large pan, bring the marinara sauce to a simmer, and then gently lower the cooked meatballs into it and continue simmering for 15 minutes. Serve over pasta, in a sandwich, or on their own.