I grew up in an Italian family with weekly Italian Sunday dinners: some sort of pasta (or “macaroni”), bread, sausage and meatballs. Sometimes we’d have a simple spaghetti and other times we’d have lasagna or baked ziti, but we always had meatballs – they were always my mom’s homemade beef meatballs in her tomato sauce. I didn’t even know that other varieties of meatballs even existed!

Now that I’m older and a bit more worldy than I was as a child, I am well aware that foods exist outside of those my mom made in our kitchen. Meatballs, for instance, are made and enjoyed across the globe. But what defines a meatball? This seems to be hard to say. In the West, we typically think of meatballs as ground (or minced) meat mixed with bread or dairy. In contrast, in East Asia, meat is chopped into a paste for meatballs. I’ve learned that the type of meat doesn’t really matter; in order to qualify as a meatball, it has to end up, at least relatively, round in shape. 

Internationally, making meatballs has been a process of stretching minimal portions of meat into something more nourishing, tasty and visually impressive. I think you’ll find that to be true with this meatball in almond sauce recipe from Spain. Serve this easy recipe as tapas or as an entrée with rice or potatoes.

Cuisine: Spanish
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4


Almond Sauce 

Here’s how to make it:

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