Recipe courtesy of Michael Chiarello
Meatballs in BBQ Gravy
2 hr
30 min
1 hr 30 min
6 servings
2 hr
30 min
1 hr 30 min
6 servings


For the gravy:
  • 1 pound bacon, sliced into lardons
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 glasses Chianti
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 small can chipotle peppers in adobo
  • 3 (28-ounce) cans chopped tomatoes
  • Sea salt, preferable grey
  • Freshly ground black pepper
For the meatballs:
  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan, freshly grated
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped basil leaves
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup fine dried bread crumbs
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Sea salt, preferably grey
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup water


Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and heat for 1 minute. When the oil is hot, add the bacon and render. When golden brown and beginning to crisp, add minced carrot, celery, onion, and garlic. Add a pinch of salt and saute vegetables to a light brown. Add rosemary and brown sugar and stir. Add Chianti and vinegar to pot, stir and bring to boil. Add the tomato paste, chipotles in adobo, and the chopped tomatoes. Stir and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, skimming the top occasionally to remove any scum that forms.

While the BBQ gravy is simmering, make the meatballs.

In a large bowl, mix together the meat, egg, Worcestershire, cheese, parsley, oregano, basil, onion, bread crumbs, and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Add 1/2 cup of water. Knead the water into the meat mixture with your hands. Knead and roll meatballs into about 1 1/2-inch balls. Place them in shallow saucepan on stove, add another 1/2 cup of water over them, and cover. Turn heat to medium, and steam for 35 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the meatballs from the pan. Drain the juice out of the bottom of the pan, return the meatballs to it and cover them with warm BBQ gravy. Serve on top of Grilled Spaghetti.

Cook's Note

*Serve the BBQ meatballs with grilled spaghetti for a new smoky twist on spaghetti and meatballs.

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