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  • Author: Rachael Dart
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x



For the meat balls:

  • 2 cups Ciabatta bread (crusts removed and torn into small pieces)
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 and ½ tbsp Colavita extra virgin olive oil (divided)
  • 1 small sweet onion (chopped)
  • 34 cloves garlic (minced)
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ lb. ground beef
  • ½ lb. ground pork
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 large egg
  • salt and freshly-ground pepper

For the sauce:

  • 28 oz. Colavita crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 squares (0.7 oz. Perugina 70% bittersweet chocolate, grated or finely chopped)
  • salt and freshly-ground pepper


  1. Add the bread to a small bowl, and pour the milk over top. Allow to soak for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to a dutch oven, and heat over medium-high heat. Add in the onions and sauté for a couple minutes. Add in the garlic, cumin, and cinnamon, and sauté for 2-3 more minutes. Remove half of the mixture from the pan and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the meats, soaked bread, thyme, ½ the onion mixture, egg, and lots of salt and pepper. Gently combine with your hands, and stick in the fridge for 10 minutes.
  4. Using a small cookie scoop (about 1 to 2 tablespoon-sized), scoop the mixture into balls and place on a baking sheet. Place in the fridge while you start the sauce.

For the sauce:

  1. To the pot with half of the onion mixture, add in the tomato paste and bring back up to medium-high heat. Add in the crushed tomatoes and cook until simmering. Add in the chocolate and stir until the sauce is uniform. Season with lots of salt and pepper. Allow to simmer on low while you begin to cook the meatballs.
  2. In a large skillet (cast iron is best), heat the remaining 1 and ½ tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in the meatballs, and brown on all sides. Carefully, pour the hot sauce into the pan, and simmer until the meatballs have cooked through.
  • Category: Main, Primi
  • Cuisine: Italian-Inspired
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