When the sun hits your eye and you've eaten too much pizza pie, that's Richmond's Original Italian Street Festival. The annual celebration of all things Italia rang in its 10th year at the 17th Street Farmers' Market last weekend, with vendors slinging everything from spaghetti to sfogliatelle.
I paced up and down the row of food stands, unable to decide where to begin, until I laid eyes on Bacchus' menu. MEATBALLS, $3. Suddenly I was 6 years old again, rolling meatballs with my Grandma Petrucelli in her kitchen. I couldn't stop myself from inhaling the dish and all but licking the marinara from my paper bowl. Mangiare bene, indeed.
Meatballs from Bacchus at the Richmond Original Italian Street Festival
I had to know exactly how the team at Bacchus nailed the recipe for such a flawlessly classic meatball. According to owner Chris DiLauro, it's all in the family.
"I grew up making meatballs with my mom and I [still] make them the same way she made them; [it's] a family recipe and years and years of doing it over and over and over again," he says. "This is the only meatball recipe I know.”
While DiLauro couldn't share specifics, he could spare a few tips for our readers. At Bacchus, you'll find that the Kobe Beef Meatballs are roasted, and you can replicate this at home in either a skillet or a pan. According to DiLauro, home capocuochi needn't visit their macelleria to buy premium meat; you can buy quality ground beef from your friendly neighborhood grocery store, though take note of the fat content while shopping.
"You want a medium blend," DiLauro advises. "You don’t want something that’s really high because of course you don’t want your meatballs to leach out a bunch of grease when you make them, and of course you don’t want too low a fat content because then your meatball is going to come out dry. So you want like a 30 [fat] to 70 [lean] percentage, something in there.”
The DiLauro family recipe is secret, though these tips should get you started. Besides, you can always pray to Saint Lawrence for kitchen guidance as you bind and season your meatballs. Buon appetito!