Lamb Meatballs with Tomato-Mint Cream
These lamb meatballs, a favorite of diners at chef John LaFemina's Apizz restaurant, are baked instead of fried for a more tender and juicy result.
- Tomato-Mint Sauce
- 2 pounds ground lamb
- 3 cups cubed crusty white Italian bread, crusts removed, dipped in water
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, plus 1/4 cup for garnish
- 2 tablespoons coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
- Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons creme fraiche
- 2 tablespoons sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring tomato sauce to a simmer over medium heat.
Place lamb, bread, onion, cheese, egg, parsley, mint, salt, oregano, and pepper in a large bowl; using your hand, mix until well combined. Roll lamb mixture into 2-inch meatballs. Place meatballs in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and add 4 cups simmering tomato sauce; meatballs should be covered about three-quarters of the way with sauce.
Cover baking dish with parchment paper-lined aluminum foil and transfer to oven; bake for 20 minutes. Rotate baking dish and bake for 20 minutes more. Uncover and continue cooking for 10 minutes more.
Meanwhile, add heavy cream, creme fraiche, and sugar to remaining tomato sauce; let cream sauce simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Transfer meatballs from baking dish to cream sauce; discard tomato sauce in baking dish. Gently warm meatballs in the cream sauce and serve garnished with remaining 1/4 cup mint.