Braised beef and prosciutto meatballs, red onion, carrot, tomato, fennel

Adapted by
July 2018
Yield: 6 servings


Tomato Sauce
⅓ cup olive oil
1 large red onion, cut into 3 thick slices
2 carrots, quartered lengthwise
1 bulb fennel, cut into wedges but kept intact at base
10 cloves garlic, gently crushed
1 prosciutto knuckle
Two 10-inch strips prosciutto skin, quartered
1 large sprig oregano
1 bay leaf
red pepper flakes
Two 18-ounce cans peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
Beef and Prosciutto Meatballs
12 ounces ground pork shoulder
1¼ pounds ground 80/20 beef chuck
¼ cup rendered prosciutto fat
4 ounces prosciutto scraps, finely chopped
1 cup finely chopped parsley
2 teaspoons ground fennel seed
1 pinch red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons finely chopped oregano
1 cup whole milk ricotta
1 cup plain Italian-style breadcrumbs
2 eggs
To Assemble and Serve
4 thin slices prosciutto
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 small chunk Grana Padano, shaved with a peeler


For the Sauce

In a large, heavy pot, heat oil and sear onion slices until deeply golden on both sides; season with salt. Set onion aside on a sheet tray lined with a wire rack to drain. Repeat process with carrots and fennel, respectively. Pour off most of the oil that remains in the pot and sauté garlic and prosciutto knuckle and skin until garlic just begins to brown. Add remaining ingredients and season with salt. Bring to boil, decrease heat, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Keep warm.

For the Beef and Prosciutto Meatballs

Heat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Roll mixture into golf-ball-size meatballs (about 2 ounces each) and line them up in a 9-inch by 13-inch, deep baking dish. Roast 15 minutes. Arrange the sautéed vegetables on top. Remove the knuckle, skin, bay leaf, oregano from the Sauce. Ladle Sauce over meatballs. Roast until tomatoes begin to brown, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Keep warm.

To Assemble and Serve

Heat oven to 350°F. Onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, place the slices of prosciutto. Place another sheet of parchment on top, followed by another tray. Bake until brown and crisp, about 20 minutes. Serve the Beef and Prosciutto Meatballs with the Sauce and garnish with crispy prosciutto and Grana Padano.