Recipe: Maestoso’s Majestic Meatballs

These meatballs make an ideal small plate to be enjoyed with cocktails or red wine

Once you understand that in Italian, maestoso means “majestic,” you’re well on your way to preparing this unusual and zesty appetizer. Developed by chef-proprietor Marco Maestoso years before he decamped Rome to open his lively Maestoso restaurant in Hillcrest, these meatballs make an ideal small plate to be enjoyed with cocktails or red wine. Serve with your own homemade garlic bread, if you wish.

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Maestoso’s Majestic Meatballs

Serves 10 as an appetizer

6 T. olive oil, divided
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 c. sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
8 oz. ground pork
8 oz. ground beef
8 oz. ground veal or ground chicken breast
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. finely chopped garlic
2 large eggs, beaten
1 c. grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 c. breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Slowly sauté chopped onion in 3 T. olive oil until tender but not browned. While onions cook, pour the sun-dried tomatoes into blender, and blend until reduced to a paste. Reserve 1/4 cup of this paste for plating. Add remainder to the large bowl in which you will mix the meatballs. Reserve 3 T. of the grated Parmesan for later use.

Add sautéed onions, meats and all remaining ingredients to bowl and mix by hand until mixture is well blended and somewhat orange in hue. Shape into 30 uniform-sized meatballs.

Pour remaining 3 T. olive oil into large sauté pan and heat over medium flame. Add meatballs and sauté until golden (you may want to do this in two batches).

Transfer meatballs to baking sheet with raised edges. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Spread reserved sun-dried tomato paste on serving platter, arrange meatballs on top and sprinkle with reserved Parmesan, or drop a small spoonful of paste on each of 10 appetizer plates and top with 3 meatballs and some cheese.

Suggested beverage pairing: a medium-bodied red from Italy. 

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