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Dinner Date: Rao's Meatballs with Beer from Chico based Kellerweis

08/25/2015 11:01AM ● Published by Style

Recipe and book photos courtesy of James Ransom

Meatballs from Rao’s NYC

Food52 Genius Recipes: 100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Cook by Kristen Miglore (El Dorado Hills native!)

(Ten Speed Press, 2015, $35)


  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 8 oz. ground veal
  • 8 oz. ground pork
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1-1/2 tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 small clove garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt or sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 cup (good-quality olive oil, for cooking Your favorite marinara sauce Pasta, for serving (optional)


Combine the beef, veal and pork in a large bowl. Add the eggs, cheese, parsley and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Using your hands, blend the ingredients together. Mix the breadcrumbs into the meat mixture. Slowly add the water, 1 cup at a time, until the mixture is quite moist. (If you want to make sure the seasoning is to your liking, fry off a small test meatball, taste, and adjust.) Shape into 2-1/2 to 3-inch balls.

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan. When the oil is very hot but not smoking, fry the meatballs in batches. When the bottom half of each meatball is very brown and slightly crisp, turn and cook the top half. Remove from the heat and drain on paper towels.

Heat the marinara sauce to simmering. Lower the cooked meatballs into the simmering sauce and cook for 15 minutes. Serve alone or with pasta. Makes about 28 meatballs.

Genius Tip: This recipe works best if you make your own fresh breadcrumbs (that is, grind or grate some stale bread.) In a pinch, if you need to use finer, store-bought breadcrumbs, cut back by half, and don’t use quite as much water. (The full measure of store-bought crumbs would give you something resembling a stiff, mealy dumpling.) 



Sierra Nevada Kellerweis 

Chico-based Sierra Nevada Brewing Company continues to impress with its portfolio of beers—from year-round selections like their legendary Pale Ale (the second best-selling craft beer in the U.S.) and Hop Hunter IPA, to seasonal specialties like Summerfest and Celebration. Since 1980, before craft was “cool,” they’ve been brewing bold, flavorful beers with pure ingredients, using traditional techniques, attention to detail and innovation. In 2010, the brewery was named “Green Business of the Year” by the United States Environmental Protection Agency for their dedication to sustainability.

Sierra Nevada Kellerweis is a Bavarian-style, unfiltered wheat beer that’s cloudy, golden-yellow in appearance with aromas of clove and banana, and a lively, creamy body. At 4.8-percent ABV, it’s light and slightly sweet, making it a perfect pairing for a heavy dish like this month’s meatballs.

—Christina Leyva, Events Manager, 36 Handles Pub & Eatery


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