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Pony Express: Tuscan Lamb Meatballs
Chef Cesare Casella of Salumeria Rosi – New York, NY
Adapted by
Yield: 4 Servings


Lamb Meatballs:
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup minced red onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1½ pounds ground lamb
2 eggs
½ cup minced pancetta or prosciutto
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

Lamb Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces lamb leg, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red onion, diced
1 pint white wine
1 quart plum tomatoes puree
Salt and pepper
1 pound spaghettini
½ cup grated Grana Padano cheese

For the Lamb Meatballs:
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Coat the bottom of a large ovenproof skillet with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onions, garlic, and crush red pepper and sauté over medium heat until the onions start to soften and brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool and transfer to a large bowl. Add the lamb, eggs, pancetta, Parmesan, bread crumbs, parsley, thyme, and salt to the bowl. Combine well and roll into ¼- inch balls. Add the remaining olive oil to the skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the meatballs and brown 4 to 5 minutes per side. Finish cooking in the oven.

For the Lamb Sauce:
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Heat the olive oil in a pan and sear the lamb leg. Transfer to the oven and roast. Add the garlic and onion to pan and caramelize over medium heat. Add the wine and reduce. Add the tomato, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 1 hour and then smash the meat into fine pieces, until tender.

To Assemble and Serve:
Sear the meatballs in the pot with grapeseed oil. Pour the sauce over the meatballs and cook over low heat for 1 hour. While it cooks, prepare the spaghettini in a large pot of salted boiling water. Strain and toss with grated Grana Padano cheese.