Grass-Fed Albondigas (Meatballs) With Tomato Sauce

This recipe comes from Argentine chef Fernando Navas.

Albondigas grass fed albondigas meatballs
Photo: Miguel Castilla
Hands On Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 10 mins

"Albondigas" means meatballs in Spanish, and these juicy pieces of meat are typically found in a soup in Hispanic cuisine. In this recipe, Argentine Fernando Navas, chef and owner of BALVANERA, pairs the popular food with a homemade tomato sauce and plenty of cheese. "People say nobody makes meatballs like a nonna. And, while that may be true, it was actually my abuelo (grandpa) who made the meatballs in our house," Navas shares. They were awesome—the most warming and comforting and delicious dish. It was definitely because he made them with love, but you'll see the recipe is also great!"



  • 35 ounces grass-fed ground beef

  • 8 ounces stale bread (white part only)

  • 6 ounces milk

  • 2 eggs

  • 6 ounces ricotta cheese

  • 4 cloves garlic, divided

  • Salt, to taste

  • White pepper, to taste

  • 1 ounce butter

  • 34 ounces ripened plum tomatoes

  • 3 ½ ounces olive oil

  • 7 ounces onion, minced

  • 3 ½ ounces carrot, shredded

  • 1 sprig of thyme

  • 3 ½ ounces red wine

  • 5 ounces beef consommé

  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

  • Minced parsley, for serving


  1. Make the sauce: Peel and finely chop the tomatoes and place them in a pot.

  2. Add olive oil, 3 thinly sliced garlic cloves, and onion to the pot. Slowly cook on medium heat until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.

  3. Add carrots, thyme, and red wine. Let the sauce cook for 30 minutes on medium heat and remove.

  4. Season with salt and white pepper. Set aside.

  5. Make the meatballs: Puree the remaining clove of garlic. Set aside.

  6. Mix together the ground beef, stale bread, pureed garlic, milk, eggs, and ricotta. Season with salt and white pepper.

  7. Form 3-ounce meatballs with your hands and pan-sear them in butter over medium heat until almost cooked through. Set aside.

  8. In a roasting pan, heat the tomato sauce on low and add the beef consommé. Add the meatballs to the roasting pan and finish cooking them on low, about 15 minutes. They should be at a gentle simmer.

  9. Serve with plenty of aged Parmesan and finely minced parsley.

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