I was invited to a special event to learn first-hand how to make Chef Kenny Bowers’ legendary Midnight Meatballs. I was also provided a gift card for the purposes of this giveaway. But my sincere love for Kenny and his meatballs is the real deal. I’ve spent much of my own money to get my fix along with the most amazing polenta croutons. So needless to say, this is some truthful content and you should try this recipe. It’s that good. #meatballmadness
“On top of spaghetti…all covered with cheese…”
Meatballs are such an important part of the spaghetti experience, they earned their own song.
Actually, meatballs aren’t just an Italian thing, but actually play a part of several cultures although it looks like the Romans do claim fame to them first (according to the Colorful History of the Meatball.)
Whoever wants to claim them is fine by me, but for my family, they are the purpose for the pasta. And we’ve spent many hours attempting to perfect the right meat mixture, texture and cooking method to create the ideal meatball. While I can remember some really good meatballs, I can’t say I have found THE recipe that I’m willing to cut throats for. However, I have found one that stands pretty close.
Unfortunately, the recipe is not mine. But Dallas Chef Kenny Bowers (Kenny’s Wood Fired Grill, Kenny’s Burger Joint, Kenny’s Smoke House and Kenny’s Italian Kitchen) was willing to share it with me and a few of my friends over cocktails one afternoon and a big raw mess of pork and hamburger meat.
Yes, this is how we roll.
The cocktail is actually part of the recipe too – as Kenny shared his own story of how the meatball recipe came to fruition. Basically, only after several evenings until past midnight with a few drinks down (read: several) did the recipe finally come together just the right way. Hence, the name “Midnight Meatballs.”
My cocktail choice for this meatball-making Monday: The Frenchie made with prosecco. And best of all it looks like it’s only $5 on Mondays…(but be careful, it can sneak up on you!)
Completely different than any recipe I’ve ever made, Kenny showed us how to create a panade (a paste made with white bread and milk) to bind together the meat for just the right texture. And then with a few other ingredients we had Kenny’s legendary meatballs ready for the oven and then “atop of spaghetti.” But they were so good, they really didn’t need a starch, just some red sauce and a glass of red wine!
KENNY’S MIDNIGHT MEATBALLS
12 oz (3/4 of a loaf) white bread
3 cups milk (whole)
To taste salt (iodized)
To taste black pepper (table grind)
1 cups parmesan cheese
1 oz wt. basil (fresh, chopped 3/8” no stem)
4 lbs ground beef or pork or sausage
Tear bread in to small pieces approx 1”. In a large bowl combine milk and bread. Mix together by hand making sure bread is completely dissolved in milk to form a soupy paste-like consistency. Add salt, pepper, cheese, basil and mix. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before next step.
Gently mix in meat making sure everything is evenly mixed with slightly wet hands form 4 oz wt. balls.
Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 400 degrees for approx 20 minutes until medium brown and an internal temp of 160.
Note: meatballs freeze very well if you don’t use them all this time.
I suggest you make the whole recipe and then freeze a portion of them so you have them ready to go whenever you need an appetizer or a quick meatball sub or spaghetti and meatballs!
OR you can always head over to Kenny’s on any Sunday, and National Meatball Day, for Meatball Madness! For only $1 you’ll get one of Kenny’s 1/4 pound meatballs. Or you can always beat the meatball eating record (currently it’s 18) and you can get your meatballs free.
Kenny’s Italian Kitchen
5100 Belt Line, Suite 764
Dallas, Texas 75254 (technically it’s in Addison)