Fried Miniature Meatballs in a Saffron-Garlic Sauce

Total Time:
1 hr 35 min
30 min
Inactive Prep:
20 min
45 min
9 dozen cocktail size meatballs, serving 10 to 12


  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 cup al- purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups chicken, beef, or veal broth
  • 3 cups peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
  • 2 pinches saffron


Into a mixing bowl crumble the veal, beef, and pork, mixing gently to combine. In another bowl, whisk together the half-and-half, bread crumbs, 2 teaspoons of the minced garlic, egg, parsley, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, 3/4 teaspoon of the pepper, nutmeg, and coriander and let sit for 5 minutes. Add the bread crumb mixture to the meat mixture and mix gently but thoroughly to combine, trying not to overwork the meat. Form into cocktail-sized meatballs, about 2 teaspoons each, and place on a baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate, covered, for 20 minutes and up to overnight.

Remove the meatballs from the refrigerator and, working in batches, lightly coat in the flour. Shake to remove any excess. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the meatballs, in batches if necessary, and quickly brown on all sides, shaking the pan as necessary to promote even browning, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove the meatballs with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate and set aside. Add the minced onion to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the white wine and allow to reduce by half. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, and saffron and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Add the meatballs and return sauce to a simmer. Partially cover the skillet and cook meatballs at a low simmer for 20 minutes, or until meatballs are tender and sauce is flavorful. Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and serve immediately.