Are you ready for some meatballs?
These variations will make you the MVP at any Super Bowl party
Spicy pork meatballs: From "The Meatball Shop Cookbook." Serve on a baguette as a sub, or plate on a bed of creamy polenta; spoon on a spicy meat sauce. (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)
They were the unexpected star of the buffet table at a holiday party I attended with 40 other guys. There sat six — six! — casseroles filled with meatballs, most of which were ground beef in tomato sauce. And nearly every ball was gone by the end of the night.
"Meatballs are the ultimate cure-all for anything that ails you," write Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow in "The Meatball Shop Cookbook" (Ballantine, $28). Though these New York City restaurateurs are thinking "hangover, breakup, lack of sleep, even a crying baby," you should think meatballs for your Super Bowl XLVI feast.
Footballs and meatballs just seem to go together — especially around a widescreen TV and plenty of cold beer. You can, of course, serve up that traditional ground beef meatball and float it in a pool of tomato sauce. Or jazz up your game plan by experimenting with meats, flavors and presentations.
Nearly every culture has a meatball, as Rick Rodgers, author of the new cookbook, "I Love Meatballs!" (Andrews McMeel, $19.99), makes clear. His 55 recipes range around the world, from Tuscan olive-stuffed rounds to Thai pork and shrimp balls to a Texas meatball chili soup.
"Every cuisine has them because they're economical and easy to make," says Rodgers. "They also just taste great. You can make them ahead, warm them up, and they just get better."
Don't feel limited to just one platter of meatballs — offer a variety. Here we serve up two recipes for a game-day buffet. Serve as they are, or with the suggested accompaniments.
Tips to making and serving meatballs from "The Meatball Shop Cookbook," by Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow, with Lauren Deen.
Serving sizes and saucing: The Meatball Shop's standard serving is four 11/2-inch balls. Count on 1/4 cup sauce for each 1 1/2-inch ball. Serving pasta? "Add cooked pasta right into the pan to soak up the sauce and flavor," the authors suggest.
Meatballs can be made a day in advance and baked up to 24 hours later. Or, bake immediately and refrigerate for up to three days before reheating.
Refrigerate with or without sauce, for up to three days. Freeze, with or without sauce, for up to 3 months.
Microwave 4 minutes, 6 minutes if frozen. Bake, covered, in a 300-degee oven, 20 minutes. Cook on the stove top, covered, with 2 or 3 tablespoons of water over medium heat, 10 minutes.
Spicy pork meatballs
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes