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From Mom with Love: Executive Chef Lewis Rossman of Sam's Chowder House in Half Moon Bay, California, Shares the Recipe for Grandma's Meatballs

May 11, 2012

Chef Lewis Rossman
Chef Rossman serves these meatballs in two different dishes at Sam's Chowder House!

Mother's Day is almost here, and we've got even more chefs to share a recipe inspired by their own mom. Lewis Rossman, Executive Chef of Sam's Chowder House, reveals his grandma's recipe for amazing meatballs!

Long before meatballs claimed the culinary spotlight, they've been a mainstay on the menu for Chef Lewis Rossman and his family, both at home and at his restaurant, Sam's Chowder House. Rossman says, "My mother, who taught me how to make her mother's recipe for meatballs, is Italian, and traditional Italian cuisine has always been a big part of my life and what I grew up on. We spent many a Christmas together cooking classic Italian food, such as fried artichokes, sausage and meatballs, braciole, ravioli, and so on."

Growing up near Philadelphia, Rossman and his family frequented South Philly restaurants, but everyday dinners at home found Rossman's mom behind the stove, making grilled meats, escarole, chicken noodle soup finished with egg, frittatas, and, of course, spaghetti and meatballs.

He says, "I serve this in the restaurant as an appetizer dish in which the meatballs are baked in individual casserole dishes and served with classic crusty Italian bread, as well as serving spaghetti and meatballs. At home, I often serve similar style meatball dishes to my family and friends — but it's almost never exactly the same dish!"

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Grandma Flora's Savory Meatballs Appetizer
"This dish is all about heart," says Chef Rossman. "It's one of those dishes where you can really taste the love that went into the process of making it."

Grandma Flora's Savory Meatballs
Makes about 20 2-oz. meatballs

1 lb. ground chuck
1 lb. ground pork butt
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 whole eggs
1/2 cup toasted bread crumbs
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all of the ingredients together until thoroughly incorporated and portion into 2 ounce balls.

1 med. white onion small dice
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup white wine
2 cups diced tomatoes and juice (fresh or canned)
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup chicken stock or water
3 sprigs of fresh oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

To start the sauce to cook the meatballs, heat an ample amount of olive oil in a braising pot and brown the meatballs. It is important that the oil is hot to prevent sticking. When the oil reaches its smoking point it is time to lower the heat to medium and add the meatballs. Brown the meatballs evenly on all sides. Once the meatballs are browned, remove from the pot to a separate container. If there is an excess of grease in the pot pour the grease off into a metal container and cool before discarding.

Next add the onion and garlic to the pot and cook on medium heat. Sauté these ingredients until softened, if necessary add a little more olive oil. Now add 1 cup of white wine and be sure to scrape all the brown bits from the meatballs off the bottom of the pan (These are good!). When the wine has reduced by half add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and stock or water. Add the fresh oregano and season with salt and pepper.Bring the sauce to a simmer and add the meatballs back in. Cook the meatballs in the sauce for 20 minutes at a low simmer. Enjoy!