National Pasta Day, one of my personal favorite non-traditional holidays, is next Monday. A day to celebrate all things Pasta, it provides several top Manhattan restaurants with ways to enjoy it in a variety of ways. One particular location that we recommend you stopping by that day and beyond is Patsy’s Italian Restaurant, located on W. 56th Street between 7th and 8th Avenue.
Dubbed as Frank Sinatra’s favorite restaurant, Patsy’s Italian Restaurant has been around for over seventy years. Another fun fact is that this location has only three chefs in its entire existence- the late Patsy himself, his son Joe Scognamillo and Joe’s son Sal Scognamillo, who has been manning the kitchen for the past 29 years – you can truly call them the pasta experts.
For National Pasta Day, they are providing their amazing recipe for one of their signature dishes, Spaghetti and Veal Meatballs. Such a simple and classic dish, but from the looks of how this is made, I can see why it is such a staple at such a well known institution. Here is the recipe.
Spaghetti and Veal Meatballs
Makes 4 to 6 Servings
With no false modesty, I have often heard that Patsy’s has the best meatballs in New York. These tasty icons of Italian-American cuisine do have a secret ingredient: ground veal, which has more natural gelatin than ground beef or pork, and provides extra moisture. For a little while, my dad Joe tool them off the menu, believing that they were old hat. I argued that the customers demanded them. As an experiment, we put them back on the menu for two days to see how many orders we sold. Our meatballs will never leave the menu again.
1 ½ pounds ground veal
⅓ cup plain dried bread crumbs
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 teaspoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of dried oregano
2 cups olive oil, for frying
1 pound spaghetti
4 cups tomato sauce (page 100)
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving
To make the meatballs: Combine the veal, bread crumbs, eggs, Pecorino Romani, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano in a large bowl. Using your hands, mix them together thoroughly. Roll into 12 meatballs and transfer to a plate.
Line a platter or baking sheet with paper towels and place near the stove. Heat the oil in a large deep skillet and heat over high heat until the oil is shimmering (350° F on a deep-frying thermometer). Working in batches, without crowding, carefully add the meatballs and fry, turning occasionally, until they are nicely browned, 4-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the paper towels. Reheat the oil to shimmering before adding each batch.
Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
Bring the tomato sauce to simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the meatballs and reduced the heat to medium-low. Cover the saucepan and simmer until the meatballs are cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.
When the meatballs are added to the sauce, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions until al dente. Drain the spaghetti and return it to its cooking pot. Add about half of the tomato sauce and mix well. Divide the pasta and meatballs among pasta bowls and top with the remaining sauce. Serve hot with the Parmigiano-Reggiano passed on the side.
How tasty is that? For more information Patsy’s Italian Restaurant, check out their official site, and check for our official review later on this week. Happy National Pasta Day!