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COOKING WITH GALA

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Italian Meatballs With Tomato and White Wine Braise 

Meatballs 
10 ounces ground pork 
10 ounces ground beef 
4 ounces ground prosciutto 
2 t salt 
1/2 t hot red pepper flakes 
1 t fennel seed 
1 T dried oregano 
1/2 onion, finely diced 
1 garlic clove, minced 
1/4 bunch parsley, minced 
3 ounces grated Parmesan cheese 
1/2 pound Italian bread, remove crusts, cube, process to fine crumbs 
2/3 c ricotta cheese 
1/4 c milk 
3 eggs 

Braising Liquid 
2 T olive oil 
1 onion, chopped 
1 carrot, coarsely chopped 
1 bay leaf 
3/4 c white wine 
1 quart pureed tomatoes 
1 c chicken stock 
1/2 bunch basil, coarsely chopped 
2 T fresh oregano, minced 
Salt and pepper to taste 

Grated Parmesan cheese and Extra virgin olive oil, for garnish 

For the meatballs: Preheat the oven to 400. 

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meats by hand and season generously with salt, pepper flakes, fennel seed and oregano. Add the onion, garlic, parsley and Parmesan cheese and mix by hand. Pulse bread cubes in a food processor into fine crumbs. Add the breadcrumbs, the ricotta and milk to mixture and continue to mix by hand. Add the eggs, stirring until barely incorporated (do not overmix). Form the mixture into about two dozen 1 1/2-inch balls and place in an oiled roasting pan, bake about 15 minutes (until brown) then reduce the oven to 300. 

Meanwhile, in a large, ovenproof saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion, carrot and bay leaf and cook until the carrot is softened and the onion is translucent, deglaze with white wine, then add the tomatoes, stock, basil and oregano. Heat for 5 minutes and season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Drain the fat off of the meatballs and pour the braising liquid over them (they will be barely covered). Bake the meatballs at 300 for 2.5 hours, allow to cool in the braising liquid and skim off the excess fat. To serve, reheat the meatballs in the braising liquid, finishing the dish with Parmesan and olive oil.   Serves 6