Meatballs and Ya-Ka-Mein

Last night I made a version of ya-ka-mein, a southern dish served late at night to combat the on-coming hang over.  Simply, it is beef broth ladled over spaghetti and chopped chuck (or similar braised meat.)  Chopped hard boiled eggs or parsley are often added as topping.  It was shown in short scene this season on Treme.  As interesting as that sounds, I needed to tweak it for my tastes.


Giving it some minor thought, I abandoned the chopped chuck and the hard boiled eggs.  I did add a meatball, filet mignon and a fried egg.  Since bacon makes everything better, bacon, cilantro and chopped onions were added as toppings.


Making the beef broth from scratch was both time consuming and interesting.  It took a full day; I made it a week ahead of time.  What was really exciting was the meatballs.  I have a delicious, dense meatball that I make all the time.  I have been hearing about the meatballs at A16 for a while, so I decided to try their recipe.  They were fantastic and light.  I reserved the sauce for the a spaghetti and meatball dinner later.  The recipe follows the picture.  I increased most of it, because I tend to buy meat in pounds, not ounces.


with filet, meatball and egg

with filet, meatball and egg


A16’s Italian Meatballs With Tomato & White Wine Braise

From Christophe Hille, executive chef.



10 ounces ground pork

10 ounces ground beef

4 ounces ground prosciutto (see Note)

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon fennel seed

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1/2 onion, finely diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 bunch parsley, minced

3 ounces grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 pound good-quality Italian bread, crusts removed and cubed

2/3 cup ricotta cheese

1/4 cup milk

3 eggs

Braising Liquid

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, coarsely chopped

1 bay leaf

3/4 cup white wine

1 quart pureed tomatoes

1 cup chicken stock

1/2 bunch basil, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

Grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Extra virgin olive oil, for garnish


For the meatballs: Preheat the oven to 400°.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground pork, beef and prosciutto by hand and season generously with salt, pepper flakes, fennel seed and oregano. Add the onion, garlic, parsley and Parmesan cheese and mix by hand. Put the bread cubes in a food processor and process into fine crumbs. Add the breadcrumbs, the ricotta and milk to the meat mixture and continue to mix by hand. Add the eggs, stirring until barely incorporated (do not overmix). Form the mixture into about two dozen 1 1/2-inch balls and place in an oiled roasting pan. Bake until browned, about 15 minutes. When done, reduce the oven temperature to 300°.

For the braising liquid: Meanwhile, in a large, ovenproof saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion, carrot and bay leaf and cook until the carrot is softened and the onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Deglaze with white wine, then add the tomatoes, stock, basil and oregano. Heat for 5 minutes and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Drain the fat off of the meatballs and pour the braising liquid over them (they should barely be covered). Bake the meatballs at 300° for 2 1/2 hours. Allow to cool in the braising liquid. Skim off the excess fat.

To serve, reheat the meatballs in the braising liquid, finishing the dish with Parmesan and olive oil.

Serves 6

Note: Roughly chop a 4-ounce piece of prosciutto (ends work well) and grind in the food processor.
borrowed from
Original Article:

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1 Comment

  1. I knew you would have a fantastic recipe! I’m going to make a dumbed-down version (simply ground beef) but follow the general outline. I’m sure that it won’t be anywhere near as tasty as your recipe sounds, but will be a vastly better than my usual efforts. Cheers, and thanks Lee!


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