Yash owned Pike Pizza in Arlington, Va. for 20 years, and retired around 1991. That restaurant was our neighborhood watering hole where a bunch of us went to meet and greet almost daily. We never knew Yash's last name. He was from Pakistan but he made the absolutely best Italian meatballs we ever tasted! After wheedling this recipe out of him, I gave up all other meatball recipes!

3 pounds ground beef round *
1 medium onion -- finely chopped
3 cloves garlic -- minced
1 cup fresh bread crumbs, more or less as needed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parlsey
3 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
3 eggs
1/4 - 1/3 cup cold water, as needed

* 1/2 pound of ground pork may be substituted for 1/2 pound of the beef if desired.

In a large bowl, put in all ingredients except the water. Using your hands, mix well. Drizzle in just enough of the water to form a smooth consistency. Spray a shallow baking pan with olive oil PAM. Shape mixture into meatballs about 1-1/2 inches in diameter and place on the prepared baking pan about 1/2-inch apart. Cover with wax paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate 1-2 hours.

Remove the pan from the refrigerator to allow meatballs to come to room temperature, about 12-15 minuites, while you preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. and place an oven rack in the middle of the oven.

Remove the cover from the meatballs, place pan into the oven, and bake 20-25 minutes or until cooked through. Cool on the pan 2-3 minutes, then remove to a platter lined with paper towels to absorb any excess fat.

Meatballs may be used at once or stored in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator up to 3 days, or frozen up to 3 months.

If chilled or frozen, reheat in a preheated 350-degree oven 15 minutes, or in a skillet sprayed with a little cooking spray turning occasionally, until heated through.

Copyright 2002 Carol Stevens, Shaboom's Kitchen, All Rights Reserved