Sal’s Old School Meatballs

Sal’s Old School MeatballsNote from Marc:
My father instilled three things in me: (1) Always work for yourself—no matter what, be the boss; (2) Always have integrity—you are only as good as your word; (3) Always use veal, pork, and beef in meatballs. Life really is that simple!

Makes about sixty 1-ounce meatballs (thirty 2-ounce meatballs or twenty 3-ounce meatballs)

Ingredients1 pound ground veal
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
4 slices white sandwich bread, torn
1½ cups milk
3 eggs
2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
1 cup grated pecorino cheese
6 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1½ cups tipo 00* flour or all-purpose flour
¼ cup grapeseed oil

Combine the veal, pork, beef, bread, milk, eggs, 2 cups Parmesan, pecorino, 6 tablespoons parsley, salt, pepper, and garlic in a stand mixer fitted with the flat blade. Mix on medium-low speed for 1 minute.

Scoop out ⅛-cup pieces of meat and gently roll them between your hands into balls about the size of a golf ball. The meat will be soft, so don’t compress it too much. Put the flour in a bowl and toss the meatballs in the flour as you work. Heat the grapeseed oil over medium heat in a large skillet and, working in batches, add the floured balls, cooking them until golden brown all over, 8 to 10 minutes total. The internal temperature should be about 155°F.

Divide the meatballs among plates; sprinkle with Parmesan and parsley.

*you can buy this flour from King Arthur Flour – it is called Italian-style flour



2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
4 cups San Marzano tomatoes (1 ¼- 28 ounce cans)

Heat the oil in a large skillet over moderately low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened. Add the potatoes and tomatoes and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.  Mash with a whisk and add salt and pepper to taste.



Here’s where we shopped in Philadelphia

For meat:
Esposito’s Butcher Shop
1001 South  9th Street,
Phone: 215-922-2659

For fish:

The delightful young lady who greeted us at the door of the fish market.

Darigos Fish Market
1015 South 9th Street
Phone: 215-922-2232

For cheese:
DiBruno Brothers
930 South 9th street

Dibruno’s also has a store in Rittenhouse Square at
1730 Chestnut Street

A terrific Kitchenware shop at the Italian Market that is worth visiting:
Fante’s Kitchen Shop
1006 S. Ninth Street

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9 Responses to Sal’s Old School Meatballs

  1. I love watching and cooking the meals from Sara.

  2. Carol Longo says:

    Just watched the episode with Sal’s meatballs. They looked so delicious! I am definitely going to try making them. Thanks!

  3. TTC says:

    Wonderful episode!! Loved learning some simple Italian home-cooking recipes. I’m really surprised, though, that parsley is the only green herb used in either the meatballs or the sauce. Maybe that’s due to a misconception I have about Italian cooking that oregano, basil, or bay leaves are required. 🙂

  4. Cathy Westmeyer says:

    I made Sal’s old school meatballs & I’m questioning if the amount of salt (2 Tablespoons) in the recipe is correct? After making, cooking & tasting one, it was quite salty. Perhaps when in the sauce, the saltiness won’t be as noticeable.
    I did check several other meatball recipes & salt was a much smaller amount.
    Thank you, in advance, for your reply.
    Many thanks,
    Cathy Westmeyer

    • moulton says:

      I agree that on paper 2 tablespoons does seem like a lot. But it is 3 pounds of meat. Salting is very personal though. I suggest you cut back on the salt if you make it again. Meanwhile, I hope the batch you just made still tastes good, when sauced.

    • Rusty Barlow says:

      I know it’s been a while, but revisiting this … did you use kosher salt?

  5. Liz says:

    I made the meatballs tonight for supper. They were very good and moist. I added less salt because of the previous comment about it being to salty. I think I could of put the full amount as indicated. Kosher salt is less salty then regular salt. The tomato sauce was also good but the potatoes took much longer to cook. Served with Caesar salad and bruschetta.
    I will make this recipe again!

  6. Ginger says:

    Love, love, love your show! The Sal’s meatball recipe was so delicious. I can’t wait to try it. I’m intrigued with the potatoes in the sauce. Anxious to try that as well. Will keep watching!

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