Red Sauce How Italian Food Became American

Large Meatball Home Style

By on Tuesday, April 12th, 2022 at 8:03 am | 374 views

American Meatballs

Ada Boni’s The Talisman Italian Cook Book is a classic of pre-war Italian cooking. Matilda la Rosa published a post-war translation in English in 1950.

It bares repeating that Italian meatballs were not served over spaghetti with red sauce as is typical in the United States.

This recipe calls for making a single giant meatball — in essence, a giant meatloaf. The ball is then braised in a tomato sauce for two hours.

Adapted from The Talisman Italian Cook Book, originally by Ada Boni, translated by Matilde La Rosa in 1950.

Serve with mayonnaise.


1 ¼ lb chopped beef
1/8 lb prosciutto or bacon
4 slices of bread
1 egg
1 tsp parsley
2 tbsp Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 tsp basil
1 onion
1 stalk celery
1 carrot
1 fresh tomato


Soak bread in water.
Combined meat, bread, egg, cheese, parsley and basil.
Season with salt and pepper.
Roll into single ball.
Boil 8 cups of water with onion, celery, carrot, tomato, parsley and salt.
Add meatball and reduce heat.
Simmer for 2 hours.