Ball so hard.

Ball so Hard

Real, straight talk: It has taken me about 4 winters to perfect this recipe so be grateful I’m opening up and letting you into my kitchen with my fames-within-my-inner-circle meatball recipe. Ya dig?

Ok, now that we’re done worshipping at the alter of the stove (my stove, obv). Let me start my saying this. I am a huge a meatball lover. I’ve had The Meatball Shop balls, Batali’s balls, your nonna’s balls, your tia’s balls. You name it, I’ve belly-ed it. However, being somewhat OCD in the kitchen, I scoured the internets, took techniques from cooking school and interrogated your Nonna bordering on water torture (true) to perfect and refine my meatball ‘n sauce recipe. I call this, CATEGORICALLY, the best meatball recipe. Ever. EK Out.


I use a simple, tart, tomato-y sauce to compliment the balls. Obv Marcella Hazan’s cult recipe is boss. Go easy on the salt as the meatballs have Pecorino Romano cheese incorporated. You can always add salt, but you can’t take it away #evasays

28 ounces whole peeled tomatoes from a can.  (San Marzano only please)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter (if you use salted butter, careful adding any more salt)
1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and halved
Salt to taste

  1. Chop the whole tomatoes into ½ inch cubes
  2. Put the tomatoes, onion and butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Bring the sauce to a simmer then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes stirring occasionally.


I like a meatball with a lighter mouth feel so don’t overwork the balls by over handling

2 pounds ground beef, veal and pork (fresh from the butcher please!)

4 large cloves garlic, grated

1 cup onion, grated

1 egg (reserve 1 more in case mixture is not wet enough)

3/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

1 teaspoon of salt

ground black pepper to taste

2 cups stale bread, cubed

Whole milk

  1. Combine the stale bread, grated garlic and grated onions in a bowl and mix to combine. Cover with whole milk. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes to soften.
  2. Combine the meat, egg and Pecorino Romano with the bread mixture and mix very well with your clean hands. Season with salt and a few turns of fresh ground pepper. The mixture should be very wet. Add another egg if needed.
  3. Make balls slightly larger than a golf ball. Careful with too munch handling. These pups need their space.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Brown meatballs in batches and place into 325 degree oven until cooked through. About 15 minutes.
  5. Once the meatballs are done, place gently into simmering sauce for about 15 minutes.
  6. My favorite way to enjoy this dish is with a few slices of good bread and topped with fresh parsley. I find pasta unnecessary with this dish.

Makes about 20 balls.

Oh. If you are a weirdly psychotic about calories, Mama did the count for you:

117 calories per ball.

Holler at me with ?’s.

On-trend: seasonal lovelies

Things that make me happy: schaudenfraud, The Hills, Marni, les incompetants, Steve McQueen, dumplings, Commes des Garcons and the Union Square farmers market. Check out these photos of beauty:




Potato rainbow
Potato rainbow


Squash rainbow
Squash rainbow




Butternut, Spaghetti, Kabocha and Ambercup Squash
Butternut, Spaghetti, Kabocha and Ambercup Squash


Sweet and Fingerling potatos
Sweet and Fingerling potatoes

And let us not forget the first commandment of cooking: what grows together, goes together. So buy, cook, mix up and gorge. I’ve been roasting squash and pairing them with sauteed leeks which makes for a healthy and filling dinner. Super full right now…and a lil butter on the roasted squash never hurt either. 

Squash & Leek: 

Cut one squash in half (any will do), scoop out the seeds, season with salt and pour a bit of olive oil on the flesh and roast at 400 degrees for about an hour. Right before the squash is done, clean one or two leek stalks, discarding the dark green leaves and washing them in a bowl of cold water to loosen the sand and dirt. Chop into 1/4 inch pieces. Heat up a few tablespoons of olive oil and quickly saute until soft. You can also choose to saute the leek with ginger and a bit of paprika. Season with salt and serve inside one half of the roasted squash (place the leek inside the area where the seeds used to me. Voila! Perfecto.


You leetle Bahn Mi sandwich…I want to kidnap you and and take you away with me forever.

Chez JJP and I were so obsessed with Bahn Mi this week, we cultivated our own gastronomically correct recipe and served it to the willing souls in the box known as: work.

Our editorial intern came up with the most killer marinade for the pork butt we bought. I loved it so much, I wanted to kidnap her but instead I’ll just give you the recipe:

Chez JJP/GastroGirl Bahn Mi Mash-Up

1 crusty French Baguette, cut into four

1/2 lb pork butt

4 thick slices of Mortadella or similar lunch meat

handful of julienned pickes, carrots, cucumbers

bunch of cilantro sprigs

mayo or Aioli for spread

1. Cut the pork butt into small pieces, about 1/4 inch x 1/2 inch

2. Marinate the small pieces following super-interns directions:

The flavor of the marinade should be very sweet-forward balanced by a strong soy/fish flavor so don’t be shy with the sugar/honey

Asian Fish Sauce
Soy Sauce
Sweet Cooking Rice Vinegar
Sake Seasoning
Chili flakes (or chili garlic sauce)

Combine about a tablespoon or so of each ingredient but taste as you go to achieve a potent fishy/sweet marinade. Once achieved, proceed with marinading and let stand for about 10 – 15 minutes.

3. Salt the meat before it goes into the broiler and taste for seasinging as it cooks. You can sprinkle it with additional sugar for caramelization and add salt if needed. Broil for about 15 to 20 minutes or until meat is well done and caramelized

4. While the pork-luv is broiling, prepare your mis-en-place: separate ingredients listed above into bowls and put in the order that you want to stuff the bread, here is the order I used (from bottom of sandwich to top): mayo spread, mortadella, pork, pickles, carrots, cucumbers, cilantro

Do me a favor and please make this Bahn Mi. It wants to be eaten, and loved.