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The fabulous Florentine "balls": today the ones of "Miniati"

(Le favolose "palle" fiorentine: oggi quelle del "Miniati")

  • 500 grams of minced veal
  • 4 garlic cloves and a small bunch of parsley chopped very finely
  • 2 eggs
  • 100 grams of Parmesan cheese
  • one meat stock cube
  • 4 spoons of oil
  • 50 grams of butter
  • white flour
  • salt and pepper
In a small soup tureen put the minced meat, the chopped garlics and parsley, eggs and Parmesan cheese, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper; knead all this stuff with care, mix it very well until you have a homogeneous mixture, quite thick. Then, with the above mixture and with your dipped in flour-hands, make some balls with the dimension of a big nut. Position them over a tin with abundant oil and spread with butter. In the same tin you have to crumble uniformly the stock cube. After this step you should cover the balls with hot water, put the tin over a hotplate, as it could warm in a uniform way, and let them boil very slowly, then cook them very slowly for 30 minutes more; sometimes shake the tin in order to avoid the balls to attach on the bottom of the thin when the sauce starts to thicken. The balls should be served very hot over a bed of soft mashed potatoes. You can prepare it with 1/2 kg of peeled and mashed potatoes, 1/4 of milk, 50 grs. of butter, salt and pepper, some nutmeg: you have to boil all these ingredients for about 7-8 minutes turning it continuously.
Arnaldo Miniati was a good painter and a ceramics artist, with a discreet reputation; he died about 15 years ago. He was an amateur gourmet, keen on eating very well and talking about himself, as many Florentine artists. He has left a book of recipes, which are a bit odd but we should say original. The recipe we have presented above, even if prepared in a different manner, is part of the book of recipes of Arnaldo Miniati and as we wanted to celebrate this man, we have given to the balls his name.

A Giuseppe Alessi recipe
Translated by Gianna Toni


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