Just published last week is Nonna’s House by Jody Scaravella. At Jody’s restaurant on Staten Island, Enoteca Maria, the chefs are ten Italian-American grandmothers who rotate nightly in the Enoteca, preparing whatever intriegues them that day. This book is a collection of recipes of their best recipes, all inspired, all authentic. Some of the grandmothers are Italian-American, born here. Some were born in Italy and migrated. The recipes themselves though are Italian, not Italian-American. You can get a sense of the wonderful range of recipes by looking at my cookbook review of Nonna’s Table.

Suzen and I have yet to make this recipe, but the photo has inspired me to share it with you now. At Suzen’s cooking school, Cooking by the Book, she does team cooking events and is always on the look for a recipe that is “eventable” — a dish that a team of four to six people can prepare in a little less than an hour, plus some final cooking time. This is just such a fun dish where people can cook, get their hands meaty dirty and then eat their “surprise” when they slice and reveal that inner egg.

The meatballs themselves call for a combination of three meats: ground beef, pork, and veal. That’s a terrific combination, so I’m confident this recipe will afford you great satisfaction.

Meatballs with Hard-Boiled Eggs Inside

Yield: serves 6


  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the baking sheet
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ⅓ pound lean ground beef
  • ⅓ pound ground pork
  • ⅓ pound ground veal
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 ounce Pecorino Romano, finely grated (about ¼ cup)
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
  • Green salad tossed with a light vinaigrette, for serving (optional)


Soak the breadcrumbs in a small bowl with 1 cup water for 10 minutes. Squeeze them dry over the sink in small handfuls; transfer to a large bowl.

Warm the oil in a small skillet set over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Scrape the onion and garlic into the bowl with the breadcrumbs and let cool for 10 minutes.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a large rimmed baking sheet.

Crumble in the ground beef, pork, and veal and break them apart with a fork. Stir in the eggs, Pecorino Romano, parsley, salt, and pepper. Mix with clean hands until you have a uniform mixture.

Divide this meat mixture into six equal portions. Cup a portion in your palms, flatten and form the meat mixture to make a concave depression at its center; set a hard-boiled egg in this, then wrap and form the meat mixture into a ball around the egg, sealing it well on all sides with no gaps. Set on the baking sheet and repeat with the remainder of the meat mixture and eggs.

Bake until the meatballs are cooked through and browned, about 20 minutes. Serve with a tossed green salad, if desired.

Source: Nonna’s House by Jody Scaravella [Atria Books, 2015]