Mama’s Meatballs & Ragu

Mama’s Meatballs & Ragu

It’s one of my most vivid childhood memories: Mom teaching me the recipes as I stood on a stool and peeked up at the stove. As a lefty, she would tease me for the way I did things- stirring the wrong way or bumping her with my elbow. After all the lessons growing up and no matter how hard I try, I can’t get the recipe exactly like hers. She claims I’m following it “to a tee,” and that the difference is in our hands. I think that’s what’s most interesting and special about flavor. Just the way you work the meat or stir the pot can dramatically affect the outcome of the meal. It’s putting your own personal twist on it- even if it’s subconsciously. Having said that, I’m convinced she’s still leaving something out!

What I learned at a young age is that in order to develop flavor, you can’t take short cuts.  If you want a deep flavor of sauce and meatballs, you have to be patient. You can’t just turn up the heat and cook them faster. Sunday dinners are a tradition that I can’t wait to pass down to my son- to teach him not just the recipe for slow-braised ragu and meatballs, but the recipe for bringing the family together.

Donatella Arpaia

Donatella Arpaia is a chef, restaurateur, entrepreneur, and mother. She has built an empire of successful restaurants drawing on the skills, passion, methods, and love for food she learned from her family.

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