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Chef Holzman carves out meatball niche in NYC

Jun 21, 2011, 3:05 a.m.

Q: What kind of meatballs do you like?

A: "I tend to like simpler, classic profiles myself. I also like the Japanese meatballs that you get in little grill places like Yakitori Totto (a Japanese restaurant in New York) where I had their chicken meatballs. The funny thing is that it's completely different texture ... That's the funny thing about meatball. Every culture has a meatball. They all share the same principle, but they are all so different."

Pork Meatballs and Spicy Meat Sauce (yields 24)

2 pounds pork shoulder, ground

1-1/3 tbsp. salt

4 each hot cherry peppers, minced (about 1/3 cup)

1/4 cup pepper pickling liquid

4 slices white bread, minced (about 3-1/2 cups)

3 eggs

2 tbsp. olive oil

Preheat the oven to 450 degree Fahrenheit. Combine all of the ingredients except for the olive oil in a large mixing bowl and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated.

Drizzle the olive oil into a large baking dish making sure to evenly coat the entire surface. Roll the mixture into round, golf ball sized meatballs making sure to pack the meat firmly.

Place the balls into the oiled baking dish so that all of the meatballs are lined up evenly in rows and are touching each of their four neighbors in a grid. Roast until firm and cooked through (about 14 minutes). Allow the meatballs to cool for five minutes before removing from the tray.

Spicy Meat Sauce (yield 8 cups)

1 large yellow onion, small dice (about 2 cups)

1 pound pork shoulder, ground

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp. chili flakes

2 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. tomato paste

2 28-oz. cans, canned tomato, chopped

Cook the onions and pork, with the olive oil, chili flakes and salt over a medium heat in a large pot (6-quart) stirring constantly until the meat is thoroughly cooked and the onions are soft and beginning to brown (about 15 minutes).

Add the tomato paste and continue cooking for five minutes. Add the canned tomatoes and stir constantly until the sauce begins to boil. Continue cooking for 35 minutes stirring every four or five minutes so the sauce does not burn.

(Reporting by Richard Leong; editing by Patricia Reaney)

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