“Suffed Meat Patties (Apicius 48)”
Esicia omentata: pulpam cincisam teres cum medulla siliginei in vino infusi. Piper, liquamen, si velis, et bacam mirteam extenteratum simul sonteres. Pusilla esicia formabis, intus nucleis et pipere positis. Involuta omento subassabis cum careno.
“Ground meat patties in omentum: Grind chopped meat with the center of fine white bread that has been soaked in wine. Grind together pepper, garum, and pitted myrtle berries if desired. Form small patties, putting in pine nuts and pepper. Wrap in omentum and cook slowly in caroenum.”
“Within the section dedicated to recipes with ground meat, the Apician manual includes this curious rating: “The ground meat patties of peacock have first place, if they are fried so that they remain tender. Those of pheasant have second place, those of rabbit third, those of chicken fourth, and those of suckling pig fifth.” (Apicius 54).”
A Taste of Ancient Rome, Ilaria Gozzini Giacosa, translated by Anna Herklotz, forward by Mary Taylor Simeti [University of Chicago Press: Chicago] 1992 (p. 89-90)
NOTE: omentum means pork caul fat; caroenum means reduced wine. Garum means fish sauce, or the modern equivalent Worcestershire sauce.
A more modern version.
Meatball recipes evolved according to family tradition. The following recipe was published in the late 19th century by Pellegrino Artusi. He was as famous in Italy as Fannie Farmer was in the United States. They both had cookbooks aimed at the average housewife.
Do not think for a moment that I would be so pretentious as to tell you how to make meatballs. This is a dish that everyone knows how to make…My sole intention is to tell you how to prepare them when you have leftover boiled meat. Should you wish to make them more simply, or with raw meat, you will not need as much seasoning. Chop the boiled meat with a mezzaluna; separately, mince a slice of untrimmed prosciutto and add to the chopped meat. Season with grated Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, a dash of spices, raisins, pine nuts, and a few tablespoons of a mash made with an egg or two, depending on the amount. Shape the meat into balls the size of an egg, “flatten at the ends like a terrestrial globe,” roll in bread crumbs, and fry in oil or lard. Then, transfer them to a baking dish with some chopped garlic and parsley, which you have fried in the grease left in the pan, garnishing with a sauce made with an egg and lemon juice….
Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well, Pellegrino Artusi, originally published in 1892, translated by Murtha Baca and Stepen Saratelli [Marsilio: New York] 1997 (p. 238-9)