These crispy, savory, balls, simmering in tomato sauce, are delicious and surprising. They have all the texture and flavor that a meatball-lover would ask for, there's not a bit of meat in them - just eggs, grated cheese, and bread crumbs plus garlic and basil. Ahh the ingenuity of Italian cooks, who have turned the simplest staples of a kitchen into a treat! These make great party hors d'oeuvres when they are fried and crispy, you won't even need any sauce. With the sauce they make a vegetarian main course.
When I was growing up, whenever my mom would make breaded and fried pork chops or chicken, she would always take the leftover breadcrumbs and eggs, mix them up and fry it into a patty. It usually took on the shape of the meat and you would have to check to see if you got the meat or the "foondi" as we would call it. It was my favorite! When I saw this recipe for meatless meatballs made with the same ingredients, I had to try it.
I actually made these twice. The first time I followed the recipe and the meatballs were very dense and very salty from the Pecorino cheese. The second time, I made the mixture to the consistency that we made the "foondi" and the meatballs were light and crispy with enough of the Pecorino to really make them taste "authentic".
- Beat the eggs well in a large mixing bowl. Add the bread crumbs, grated cheeses, salt, chopped basil and garlic and mix well. The dough should come together in a soft mass, leaving the sides of the bowl. If it is very sticky, work in more bread crumbs a bit at a time.