A Girl & Her Food: Cicchetti's Nonna's Meatballs in Pancetta Sauce


Cicchetti's Nonna's Meatballs in Pancetta Sauce

Have you been yet to Cicchetti's? They have the most amazing meatballs in the city.  I have a special treat for you today, as I able to get a hold of the recipe and will share it with you below. If you aren't the home-cook type, make a reservation immediately and dig in to all the delicious plates Cicchetti offers.  Thank you Chef Mike Sheerin, Sarah Jordan and Phil Rubino for sharing this recipe with me! 

Nonna's Meatballs 


1lb ground beef
1lb ground veal 
1lb ground pork 
1/2 oz salt
1 oz garlic, chopped 
1/2 oz black pepper 
1/4 oz red pepper flake
3/4 oz coriander seed 
1/2 oz fennel seed 
1/4 oz of cinnamon stick 
1/2 oz thyme, leaves picked 
1 1/2 oz breadcrumbs (GF Bread Crumbs can be used as a substitute) 
6 oz heavy cream 


Combine black pepper, coriander, fennel seed, cinnamon stick and res pepper flies in a saute pan and toast over medium heat until fragrant. Place in a spice or coffee grinder along with the bay leaf and pulse until a fine powder. 

In a large bowl combine the ground meats, spice mixture, herbs, salt, bread crumbs and cream. By hand, work together the mixture until all ingredients are combined being careful not to over mix the meatball. Using an ice cream scoop, portion and ball the meatballs. 

To prepare meal, heat some oil in an oven proof saute pan over medium high heat. Brown meatball in oil.  As Chef Sarah calls this process GBD " Golden Brown Delicious". Add pancetta sauce (recipe below) to the pan and bring to a bubble. Once bubbling, place pan in a 400 degree oven for ten minutes. 

Remove from oven, add salt and pepper to taste. Check the meatball for doneness by testing with a cake tester, stick testers into the middle of the meatball and eave for three minutes, remove and feel temperature of the meat. Sprinkle liberally with grated Parmesan, serve with some warm crusty bread immediately. 

Pancetta Sauce 


1 lb fresh roma tomatoes 
2 cans whole peeled tomato
2 garlic cloves, sliced 
1/4 Spanish onion, diced
2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
1 T Salt 
1 lb pancetta


Score the fresh tomato with a pairing knife, place in boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove peel from the tomato while still warm. Crush tomatoes by hand in a colander, drain the liquid and reserve. 

Crush the canned tomato by hand, drain and reserve the liquid. 

In a medium sized pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onion to pot and sauté gently until translucent. Add both of the reserved tomato liquid and reduce by 3/4. Finally add fresh and canned tomato pulp, bring mixture to a boil and simmer for twenty minutes. 

In a sauté pan heated to medium heat add pancetta, lower heat and render pancetta. Once pancetta is golden brown and has released its fat, add to tomato sauce and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. 



  1. This looks fabulous! Definitely pinning this for Sunday night dinner ideas!