This article, written by Cat Carter, appears in Charlotte Magazine.
Roll With It: It’s National Meatball Day
March 9 is National Meatball Day. While meatballs of some sort can be found everywhere from Sweden to China, most Americans probably think first of the ones that come on a bed of spaghetti.
According to the Smithsonian Institute, this dish evolved from the polpette and the much smaller polpettine found in Italy, but it is American at heart. The late 1800s and early 1900s saw millions of Italian immigrants moving to the United States—particularly those from the southern region, where economic and political strife left many in distress. As Escoffier Online notes, these immigrants went from spending 75% of their income on food to just 25%.
More money in the pocket meant more food on the table. This was especially true of meat, which for many immigrant populations went from luxury to staple. Rather than buy expensive cuts of meat in smaller amounts, however, Italian home cooks took advantage of the low cost of ground meats to feed family and guests generously. In this way, the outsized Italian-American meatballs are a symbol of abundance, even a little indulgence. Mangia!
To mark the occasion, we asked chefs from local Italian restaurants to share their recipe for one of the most-loved comfort foods around. Each have their own take on this Italian-American classic; Chef Tom Dyrness of Mama Ricotta’s adds eggplant and balsamic vinegar to his recipe, while Chef Andrew Hurst-Dodd of Stagioni uses a combination of three meats seasoned with red wine and lemon zest. View Chef Dyrness’ Meatball Recipe…