Meatballs and Polenta from The Barbuto Cookbook by Jonathan Waxman

The Barbuto Cookbook

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I was sent a copy of The Barbuto Cookbook by Jonathan Waxman at no charge as part of the Abrams Dinner Party 20/21. All opinions are my own.

The Barbuto Cookbook

Table of Contents

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About the Barbuto Cookbook:

A culinary exploration of Barbuto’s menu—a unique blend of rustic Italian and modern California cuisine—from legendary chef Jonathan Waxman
There are very few New York City restaurants that have maintained their currency, quality, and charm for as long as Jonathan Waxman’s Barbuto. For the ?rst time ever, The Barbuto Cookbook invites home cooks into the history, culture, and cuisine of the Greenwich Village dining spot that became both a neighborhood favorite and a New York culinary destination. Jonathan and his team provide the necessary tools for re-creating Barbuto classics, including the famous JW roast chicken, the otherworldly kale salad, specialty pizzas, gnocchi, spectacular desserts, and much more. Every recipe is a ?avorful restaurant showstopper adapted for straightforward preparation at home.

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About the Author:

Jonathan Waxman has held the position of chef and owner at Barbuto in Manhattan’s West Village and Jams in 1 Hotel Central Park. He has appeared on two seasons of Top Chef Masters. Waxman is the author of two previous cookbooks and lives in Manhattan with his wife and three children.

meat balls with polenta

Meatballs and Polenta

serves 6 to 8

  • 4 TBS olive oil, divided
  • 2 onions, peeled and minced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and mashed
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground meat (equal parts beef, veal and pork)
  • 1/2 cup minced proscuitto
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 4 TBS heavy cream
  • 4 TBS butter
  • 1 can (16oz) San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, separate stems from leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups ground corn for polenta
  • 4 TBS Parmesan cheese
  • In a large saucepan heat 2 TBS of the olive oil over medium heat. Cook the onions and garlic until transluscent, about 10 minutes. Season with salt. Remove from heat and let cool.
  • In a large bowl mix together the ground meats, salt and black pepper.
  • Mix in the garlic/onions, proscuitto, breadcrumbs, the eggs, the Gruyere, and 2 TBS of the cream. Chill for 1 hour.
  • Roll the mixture into 1 1/2″ balls (or use a medium scoop)
  • In a large saucepan heat 2 TBS and 1 TBS butter over medium heat until frothy. Saute the meatballs until golden on all sides
meatballs and sauce
I made my sauce from fresh tomatoes
  • Then add the tomatoes and their juices and the basil stems.
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes until the meatballs (I made this with eggplant meatballs) are cooked through. Keep warm.
  • While the meatballs and sauce cook, make the polenta.
make polenta
I only made enough polenta for two
  • In a saucepan heat the 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt until simmering.
  • Slowly pour in the cornmeal stirring with a wooden spoon, and cook gently for 1 hour adding more water if the polenta looks dry.
  • When the polenta is cooked add in the remaining 2 TBS butter, 2 TBS cream and season with salt.
add basil to polenta
I went rogue and added the basil to the polenta
  • Gently cut the basil leaves into strips and add to the sauce.

meatballs and polenta

  • To serve: place the polenta on a plate, top with the sauce and meatballs. Garnish with the remaining Parmesan cheese

How Were the Meatballs and Polenta?

This was amazingly good. As I noted we had it with eggplant meatballs and we were both licking our plates. I am sure this is one of those meals that will be in regular rotation for dinner around here. The rich polenta with the freshly made tomato sauce was magical and the eggplant meatballs just brought it all together. A memorable meal.

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