Grenache – Barbacco Amazeballs Meatballs

Recipe Date: April 23, 2020
Difficulty: Easy
Measurements: Imperial (US)

Grenache works well with cooked tomato, which provides a good excuse for us to break out one of our favorite recipes.  These meatballs by chef and co-owner Staffane Terje of Barbacco Restaurant in San Francisco are flat out amazing.  The unexpected sweet provided by the raisins, texture  provided by the pine nuts and subtle heat provided by chili flakes takes these to a place your meatballs have likely never been.

Make the Sauce First


  • Sauce Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion/ 1/4 inch dice
  • 4 garlic cloves thinly sliced
  • 10 basil leaves, torn in pieces
  • 1/2 medium carrot, finely grated
  • 2 cans (28-ounce) peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved
  • salt
  • Meatball Ingredients:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 lbs ground pork
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated on a microplane
  • 2 teaspoons dry oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 bunch Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • Olive oil for cooking



1. In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
2. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to
10 minutes.
3. Add carrot and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft.
4. Add the tomatoes and juice, and bring to a boil, stirring often.
5. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, until slightly thickened.
6. Add basil.
7. Season with salt and keep warm.


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Whisk eggs and milk together in a large bowl. Add breadcrumbs and let sit for 10 minutes.
3. Add ground pork and remaining ingredients to the bowl, and mix thoroughly.
4. Heat some olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.
5. Form a 1-ounce meat patty, and fry in pan until cooked through. Taste the meat and adjust
seasoning if necessary.
6. Roll out the rest of the meat by hand into 2½-ounce meatballs (makes about 12). Place on
a paper-lined sheet pan.
7. Brown meatballs in olive oil over medium heat (they should still be raw in the center).
Work in batches and don’t crowd the pan.
8. Place the meatballs in a single layer in a baking dish, and cover halfway with heated tomato
9. Bake until done, about 25 minutes.
10. Serve over sautéed greens, soft polenta, or pasta. Top with grated Parmesan.