Frankies' Classic Meatballs


 (Frankie's Spuntino)

  • Prep Time


  • Cook Time


  • Total Time


  • Servings


Frankie's Spuntino, the Italian restaurant in Brooklyn, New York--run by Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo-- is a popular favorite, especially for their tennis ball-sized meat balls.


  • 2 cup plain white bread, torn into large pieces
  • 2 pound ground beef (90 percent lean, no fattier)
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup raisons
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 15 turns freshly ground white pepper
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup dried plain breadcrumbs
  • 12 cup tomato sauce, such as our Basic Tomato Sauce


Step 1

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F and arrange a rack in the middle.

Step 2

  • Place the bread in a large bowl, cover with water, and let soak until saturated, about 1 minute.

Step 3

  • Pour off the remaining water, wring out the bread, and tear it into tiny pieces. Place in a large bowl.

Step 4

  • Add the remaining ingredients except the breadcrumbs and tomato sauce and mix to combine.

Step 5

  • Add the breadcrumbs a little at a time until the mixture is moist wet, not sloppy wet. (You may not have to add all of the breadcrumbs.)

Step 6

  • Roll 1/2 cup of the meat mixture between your hands until it’s smooth, compact, and round (about 2 inches in diameter) and place the meatball on a baking sheet; repeat until you have 15 meatballs, spacing them 1 inch apart on the baking sheet.

Step 7

  • Bake until firm and just cooked through, about 25 to 30 minutes. (At this point, you can cool the meatballs and hold them in the refrigerator for as long as a couple of days or freeze them for the future.)

Step 8

  • Meanwhile, heat the tomato sauce in a large pot over medium heat until simmering.

Step 9

  • Add the meatballs and increase the heat to medium high until the sauce returns to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the meatballs soak up some of the sauce, at least 30 minutes.

Step 10

  • Serve 3 meatballs per person with a healthy helping of the sauce. Top each portion with a fluffy mountain of grated cheese.