Around the Island

Binder’s Bites: Grilled pesto meatball hero

SUSAN BINDER PHOTO This grilled pesto meatball hero is perfect for a Fourth of July barbecue.
This grilled pesto meatball hero is perfect for a Fourth of July barbecue.


I like a challenge — I think — and being asked to participate in this column fits the bill!

I come to cooking as a lover, not a trained chef, not a gourmet, but as someone who gets excited about food, likes to cook, eat, set a table and share (often crossing my fingers in hopes that I haven’t over seasoned). I like to follow recipes and adjust them. This one has been tested and requested by family and friends. It is a favorite for this time of year when grills are waiting to be fired up and casual outdoor meals prevail. Be creative, have fun, add love and give it a try!

The meatballs

2 lbs ground beef

1/2 C ricotta cheese

1/4 C grated pecorino romano

1/4 C panko bread crumbs

4 large eggs, beaten

2 T minced flat leaf parsley

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 1/2 t kosher salt

Oil for the grill

The pesto

2 C of packed arugula

1/2 C walnuts

1 clove of garlic, minced

1/2 C of grated pecorino romano cheese

1/2 t red pepper flakes

1/2 t kosher salt

1. Make the pesto. In a food processor combine all arugula, walnuts, garlic, pecorino romano cheese, red pepper flakes and salt. With the processor running, slowly drizzle in 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil.

2. In a large bowl combine beef, ricotta, pecorino, panko, beaten eggs, parsley, minced garlic and 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt. Mix gently with your hands until just combined. Form mixture into about 16 golf-ball-sized meatballs.

3. Get your grill going (charcoal or gas) and generously oil — super important — the heated, clean racks. Arrange the meatballs on the rack, do not crowd them, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Try not to move them too much, they are fragile. Once cooked move to a clean plate/baking sheet and let them rest for about five minutes while you grill the bread.

4. Horizontally split your rolls, or baguette, and grill, cut side down, until golden. Assemble the sandwich —  the cheese on the bottom grilled side of baguette, then meatballs topped with arugula pesto — you may want to serve some on the side, it’s that good.

Eat right away! Have plenty of napkins within reach. I hope you enjoy.

Adapted from “This is a Cookbook: Recipes for Real Life” by Max Sussman and Eli Sussman.