April 17, 2016
What made me do it? Not quite sure. I know better than to think turkey meatballs are going to be great.
Yesterday, as I was working on the memoir about the Gourmet years, I came across this recipe we printed in the TV issue in 2004. Lydia Bastianich came into our kitchens at 4 Times Square, to demonstrate the dish. I didn’t really remember it, but now, intrigued by the inclusion of pine nuts and golden raisins, I decided to make it.
Here’s the recipe:
Let me begin by saying that the start to finish time is a lie. There’s no way you can do this in an hour. The truth is, we often fudged the timing on recipes; if we told you that it was going to take two hours, would you really embark on the project?
Let me also say that it’s a rare Gourmet recipe that lets you down. And in all honesty, I liked the ragu quite a lot: it is full of flavor, and thin enough to allow the pasta to inhale the sauce, soaking it up until it is literally part of the pasta. But the meatballs…. I wouldn’t make them again.
When I make meatballs, I want airy spheres that evaporate beneath your teeth, whispering lemon, sighing parmesan, each bite leaving an echo in its wake. A simple sauce that sings tomato. A dish that rewards your effort by arriving at the table wreathed in joy, eager to make everybody happy.
What I want are the meatballs that Maggie Ruggiero developed for what would turn out to be one of Gourmet’s final issue. At the first tasting I said “Why don’t you add a little lemon zest?”
“You always say that,” Maggie replied.
In this case, I was right. This is a recipe that is worth your time.
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