An ideal supper for the family, Poco Albondiga (poh-koh al-bon-dee-gah), beef mixed with rice to make meatballs, is cooked a creamy tomato sauce. Serve with creamed potatoes and glazed carrots.
½ lb. lean beef, minced
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, white pith removed, seeded and chopped
3 oz. long-grain rice, washed, soaked in cold water for
30 minutes and drained
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1 large egg, lightly beaten
14 oz. canned peeled tomatoes
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, trimmed and chopped
4 tablespoons tomato puree
1 tablespoon soft brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
8’fl. oz. milk
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
First, make the sauce. Place the tomatoes with the can juice, the onion, celery, tomato puree, sugar, salt, pepper, thyme and bay leaf in a large flameproof casserole. Pour in the milk. Place the casserole over moderate heat and bring the mixture to the boil, stirring frequently.
Reduce the heat to low, cover the casserole and simmer the sauce for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the meatballs. In a large mixing bowl, using a fork or your hands, combine all the ingredients together until they are thoroughly mixed. With lightly floured hands form the mixture into about 16 balls approximately 2-inches in diameter. Set aside.
Remove the casserole from the heat. Pour the sauce through a fine wire strainer set over a medium-sized bowl. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Using the back of a wooden spoon, rub the cooked vegetables through the strainer until only a dry pulp is left. Discard the pulp. Return the sauce to the casserole and return the casserole to the heat. Stir in the cayenne and add the meatballs. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the casserole and simmer for 40 to 45 minutes or until the meat balls are cooked.
Remove the casserole from the heat and serve at once, straight from the casserole.