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Meatballs Spuntino Way

Photo Travis Kaufman

Destination Dining: Meatballs, The Spuntino Way

Learn how to make meatballs the Spuntino way.

Frankies Spuntino is a typical neighbourhood restaurant in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, serving unpretentious Italian-American comfort food that has seen the restaurant garner a loyal customer base. This recipe by Frank Falcinelli, Frank Castronovo and Peter Meehan appeared in their cookbook Frankies Spuntino Companion & Cooking Manual. It featured as part of the S.Pellegrino Destination Dining series, a cross-state swap of restaurants' recipes between New York and Los Angeles. 

20 October, 2020
Average: 3.6 (16 votes)


serves for


total time

0 HR 45 MIN


4 x Slices
2 lbs
1/4 cup
Pecorino cheese
1/4 cup plus a cup for serving
1/4 cup
Pine nuts
1/4 cup
1 and 1/2 tsp
White pepper
15 turns
Tomato sauce


Step 01

Heat the oven to 325°F. Put the fresh bread in a bowl, cover it with water, and let it soak for a minute or so. Pour off the water and wring out the bread, then crumble and tear it into tiny pieces.

Step 02

Combine the bread with all the remaining ingredients, except the tomato sauce, in a medium mixing bowl, adding them in the order they are listed. Add the dried bread crumbs last to adjust for wetness: the mixture should be moist-wet, not sloppy-wet.

Step 03

Shape the meat mixture into handball-sized meatballs and space them evenly on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. The meatballs will be firm but still juicy and gently yielding when they're cooked through. (At this point, you can cool the meatballs and hold them in the refrigerator for as long as a couple of days or freeze them for the future.)

Step 04

Meanwhile, heat the tomato sauce in a sauté pan large enough to accommodate the meatballs comfortably.

Step 05

Dump the meatballs into the pan of sauce and nudge the heat up ever so slightly. Simmer the meatballs for half an hour or so (this isn't one of those cases where longer is better) so they can soak up some sauce. Keep them there until it's time to eat.

Step 06

Serve the meatballs 3 to a person in a healthy helping of the red sauce, and hit everybody's portion - never the pan - with a fluffy mountain of grated cheese. Reserve the leftover tomato sauce (it will be super-extra-delicious) and use it anywhere tomato sauce is called for.

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