Michael White--the chef behind New York's acclaimed Marea restaurant--has dialed down the fine-dining frippery at his new Osteria Morini, which celebrates the food of Italy's Emilia-Romagna region. Meat and house-made pasta are mainstays of the menu, and few dishes better exemplify White's approach here than his polpettine. The ground-pork meatballs are made even richer with the addition of mortadella, prosciutto and a luxurious measure of cheese. At the restaurant, these are served as an antipasti, but we love them over spaghetti, too.
Mortadella and Prosciutto Polpettine
Recipe adapted from Michael White, Osteria Morini, New York
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
3 slices white bread--crust removed
1 cup milk
2 ounces mortadella (about one ½-inch-thick slice), chopped
2 ounces prosciutto (about one ¼-inch-thick slice), chopped
1 pound ground pork
3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
2 large eggs, beaten
⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 cups homemade or store-bought marinara sauce
1. In a small bowl, combine the bread and milk and let stand for 10 minutes. Drain and discard any milk that hasn't been absorbed by the bread. Tear the bread into ¼-inch pieces. Reserve.
2. In a food processor, combine the mortadella and prosciutto and pulse until the meat is coarsely ground--about 8 one-second pulses.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the mortadella and prosciutto with the ground pork, Parmesan, eggs and bread. Add the nutmeg and season the mixture well with salt and pepper. Mix gently by hand until just combined. Let the mixture rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour before forming the meat into about 14 golf-ball-size meatballs.
4. In a large, nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high. Add the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Cover the meatballs with the marinara sauce, bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook, partially covered, until the meatballs are cooked through, about 20 minutes longer. Serve immediately.