Palette Magazine

Chef Toby Joseph’s veal meatballs are comfort food at its best

By Toby Joseph, Executive Chef of Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grille

By Toby Joseph, Executive Chef of Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grille


Veal meatballs with pancetta, shallots, northern white beans and escarole

Yields 15 meatballs



For Meatballs

¾ cup Whole Milk

½ cup Panko Breadcrumbs

½ lb. Ground Pancetta (Note: 1 lb. in total – ½ for meatballs and ½ for sauce.)

2 lbs. Ground Veal

1 tsp. Kosher Salt

½ tsp. Onion Powder

¼ tsp. Red Chili Flakes

¼ cup Finely Chopped Italian Parsley

2 tbsp. Finely Chopped Fresh Sage

¾ cups Finely Diced Shallots

4 large Finely Minced Garlic Cloves

½ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

2 large Eggs, Beaten

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Olive Oil


For Sauce

1 small Yellow Onion

2 Garlic Cloves

½ lb. Ground Pancetta 6 2 cups Veal or Beef Broth

1 Head Escarole, Chopped 1 Whole Tomato, Diced

3 Sprigs Fresh Thyme

1 cup White Northern Beans, Cooked

½ tsp. Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper



For Meatballs

  1. Pour milk over the breadcrumbs in a small bowl. Stir together and set aside for at least 10 minutes for the crumbs to soften.
  2. Mix the ground pancetta and veal thoroughly in a large mixing bowl. Add salt and a pinch of black pepper; then add the onion powder and chili.
  3. In a separate pan, quickly sauté garlic and shallots until golden brown; then add to the meat bowl. Stir in the chopped parsley and Parmesan. Note: Reserve some Parmesan for garnish.
  4. Mix with your hands until ingredients are very thoroughly distributed through the meat. Stir in the breadcrumbs with milk and the eggs; then mix until well incorporated.
  5. Shape meatballs to desired size. In a sauté pan sear the outside of the meatballs and set aside until you are ready to add them to the Dutch oven.


For Sauce

  1. Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Heat the Dutch oven over a burner and sauté the onion, garlic and pancetta in olive oil. Cook for about 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in your tomato, chopped escarole and beans, and cook for an additional five minutes.
  3. Add the seared meatballs to the pot and pour in the stock. Add a thyme sprig on top and bring to a simmer; then cook in a preheated oven at 300 degrees for two hours.


Chef’s Tasty Tip: When serving, I like to put a large scoop of ricotta cheese and sprinkle more Parmesan on top.

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