Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Meatballs with Porcini

Here's another recipe from Italy's 500 Best-ever Recipes. I'd never had porcini before, and thought these meatballs were fabulous!

These meatballs, flavoured with Italian mushrooms, are delicious served hot with pasta or rice. They are also good cold as picnic food.

Serves 3-4


  • 7.5 g / 1/4 oz/ 2 tbsp dried porcini mushrooms
  • 150 ml / 1/4 pint / 2/3 cup warm water
  • 450 g / 1 lb / 2 cups lean minced (ground) beef
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 60 ml / 4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 45 ml / 3 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 egg
  • 90 ml / 6 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs (whole grain)
  • 30 ml / 2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 60 ml / 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, very finely chopped
  • 50 ml / 2 fl oz / 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • chopped fresh parsley, to garnish
  • sea salt and ground black pepper


1) Soak the dried mushrooms in the warm water for 20 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid, and chop the mushrooms finely. Strain the soaking liquid through a sieve (strainer) lined with kitchen paper and set aside.

2) Combine the meat with the chopped mushrooms, garlic parsley and basil in a mixing bowl. Stir in the egg. Add the breadcrumbs and Parmesan, then season with salt and pepper. Mix well with clean wet hands, then form into small balls about 4 cm / 1 1/2 inch in diameter.

3) Heat the oil in a large heavy frying pan. Add the onion and cook over low heat, until soft. Increase the heat and add the meatballs, rolling them often to brown them evenly all over. After about 5 minutes, add the strained mushroom soaking water. Cook for a further 5-8 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through.

4) Transfer the meatballs to a heated serving plate with a slotted spoon. Add the wine to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes stirring to scrape up any residues on the bottom of the pan. Pour the sauce over the meatballs. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

Energy 389 Kcal / 1623 kj; fat 20.3 g; saturated fat 7 g; carbohydrate 16/1 g; fibre 1/1 g

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