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Carbone's Agrodolce Meatball-tini

Cook Time:
5 mins
Prep Time:
30 mins


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 slices white bread
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup parsley leaves, picked with stem discarded, washed and dried
  • cups finely diced Spanish onion
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 1/4 cup 24-month aged grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • grated Pecorino, to serve
  • freshly ground black pepper, to serve

Chef notes

The technique of soaking bread in milk to incorporate into meatballs is a traditionally Italian move. It adds moisture and body to the meatballs which makes them perfectly tender. The sweet and tart sauce is an excellent foil to the delicate meatballs.


For the agrodolce:

Add sugar and vinegar to a pot over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce by half to yield 1 cup. Set aside.

For the meatballs:


Cut sliced white bread into 1/4-inch squares. Lightly toast in the oven until golden. Cool.


Soak the croutons in milk until completely saturated. This should be done before starting to make the meatballs.


In a pan, sweat the garlic in olive oil. Just before tender, add the parsley. Continue to cook until tender. Add the diced onion. Season with a pinch of salt. Cook until tender. Reserve.


In a large bowl, combine the meats, cooked garlic and onion mix, grated Parmesan, salt and egg.


Add the bread mix until fully incorporated by gently folding it together. Do not over-mix.


Portion into 1-ounce balls. Fry at 325 F for 2 minutes.


After frying, toss in a bowl with just enough agrodolce to cover.


Plate the meatballs and finish with freshly grated Pecorino and black pepper.