Cooking Class: Italian Meatballs with Gina Tringali

Cooking Class: Italian Meatballs with Gina Tringali


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While a foreign concept in Italy, polpette (meatballs) served with pasta in a rich tomato sauce is an important part of Italian American food culture. Italian settlers, many from Naples, set food on the land of opportunity and were surprised by the abundance of inexpensive cuts of meat available to the average person.

Meatballs that are a staple of Italian restaurants in the U.S. are different than those found in Italy. Italian meatballs - polpette - are smaller, some as small as marbles. It can be argued that polpette date back to the ancient Roman Empire with meatballs being made from chicken to fish. Today they are usually enjoyed as the main course of a meal, served in tomato sauce or without and sometimes in broth and are almost exclusively served in homes and family-run trattorie.

In our hands-on cooking seminar, we’ll prepare Neapolitan style meatballs with a simple tomato sauce. Led by food historian, sommelier, and home cook Gina Tringali, this interactive lesson will have you making meatballs like an expert. Designed to deliver a taste of Naples to your kitchen, participants will come away with an understanding of how to make this beloved simple and affordable dish and learn about how the preparation and type of meatballs found vary from region to region.

We're not giving away the secret recipe* just yet, but here are some things that you will need for the cooking class:

  • Ground beef or a mix of ground beef and pork
  • Eggs
  • Parsley
  • White or wheat bread, crusty/country style
  • Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese
  • Black pepper
  • EVOO, olive oil, sunflower seed oil or an oil of your choice for pan frying

*Participants will be provided with a full ingredient list before the class.

Gina is a food historian, coffee connoisseur and cook. Born into an Italian-American family, Gina spent countless hours in the kitchens of her mom and her Neapolitan and Sicilian grandmothers – watching, cooking, tasting – dreaming of living in Italy. In 2007 she relocated to Rome where she earned a Master’s degree in Italian Gastronomic Culture from the Università degli Studi di Roma “Tor Vergata”, and became a certified sommelier and member of AIS. She also holds an MBA from NYU. Before relocating to Rome, she worked for Tom Colicchio's Craft family of restaurants in NYC in business development and marketing and she spent some time in the kitchen. Her writing appears on numerous food and travel publications.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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