The culinary snoop in me wonders if this well-known classic Italian dish originated in Italy or the USA. Turns out it’s all American! Italians from 1890 to 1920 emigrated to America by the millions. These impoverished immigrants (some on the brink of starvation) went from spending 75 percent of their income on food in Italy to only 25 percent of their income on food in America. With more money came more food. In Italy only the more affluent could afford meat on a regular basis but the move to America meant even the poorest of poor could enjoy it on a frequent basis – as much as three times a day. Spaghetti and meatballs became a symbol of Italian-American cuisine. The meatballs (polpettes) became much larger with more meat and less breadcrumbs. In traditional polpettes, the bread to meat ratio is equal. I can just imagine Nonna in her food-stained apron cooking this for the whole family. Mangia! Mangia!
The Culinary Chase’s Note: I used lamb mince in place of beef. For an alternate, pan fry the meatballs you want to freeze, cool and place in freezer. These make delightful snacks for your children when then come home from school. Thaw in the fridge the night before or pop them in a microwave to reheat and dip in your favorite tomato or cheese sauce. Or eat them on their own. Enjoy!