Mini meatballs are always a party hit. If time is tight, you can make these up to four days in advance, cover with the sauce, and reheat them right before serving. Be sure to accompany with small slices of rustic bread for sauce-dipping.


  • Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 vine-ripened tomato, diced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Meatballs:
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground veal, or substitute beef
  • 3 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • For garnishing:
  • Fresh basil leaves


To make the sauce: In a small bowl, soak the raisins in white wine for 10 minutes.

In a nonreactive small skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the oil until hot. Saute the onion and pine nuts for 4 minutes. Add the garlic and diced tomato and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the soaked raisins, with any unabsorbcd wine, and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Add the tomato sauce and salt, bring to a simmer, and cook gently, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, or until saucy. (If the sauce gets too thick, add a touch of water.) Keep warm, or if made ahead, reheat. If making ahead, cool, cover, and refrigerate for up to 4 days.

To make the meatballs: Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray, or lightly oil it, and set aside.

Combine the meatball ingredients in a large bowl and, with clean hands, mix thoroughly. Scoop up level tablespoon-sized portions (or I like to use a #70 scoop) and shape into small balls. Place the meatballs, spaced apart, on the baking sheet. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until lightly browned and cooked through.

Spoon half the sauce into a baking dish, pretty platter, or chafing dish. Add the hot meatballs, then spoon the remaining sauce over the top. Sprinkle with basil leaves.

Makes about 56

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Submitted 9/3/11.
Source: Sips & Dips
Submitted By: b smith

Sicilian Mini Meatballs