National Meatball Day Date in the current year: March 9, 2024

National Meatball Day Do you love meatballs? If your answer is yes, celebrate National Meatball Day on March 9 by treating yourself to your favorite meatball dish, be it spaghetti with meatballs, meatball soup, meatball pizza, or IKEA meatballs with cream sauce.

Meatballs are a truly international dish: there is a large variety of meatball recipes found in national cuisines across Europe and Asia. All these recipes have one thing in common: to make a meatball, you need to roll ground meat into a small or medium-sized ball.

From there, the differences begin. Different recipes of meatballs call for different additional ingredients (such as minced onion, breadcrumbs, eggs, butter, cheese, rice, seasoning, etc.) and cooking methods (meatballs can be fried, baked, steamed, boiled, or braised). In some cuisines, there are different names for small and big meatballs, or for fried and boiled meatballs.

Most meatball recipes found in the Americas were brought to the New World by European immigrants, mostly from Iberian countries (Portugal and Spain), Italy, or Sweden. In the United States, small meatballs are typically served with spaghetti or on a sandwich.

Spaghetti with meatballs is a popular Italian-American dish; its main ingredients are spaghetti, meatballs, tomato sauce, and (optionally) Parmesan cheese. The dish is believed to have been invented by Italian immigrants in New York city in the late 19th century. Although Italian chefs often mock spaghetti and meatballs as a pseudo-Italian dish, other kinds of pasta are in fact served with meatballs in some parts of Italy.

The meatball sandwich was invented in the United States some time in the early 20th century. Just like spaghetti with meatballs, it was inspired by Italian cuisine. It primarily consists of some type of bread (baguette, ciabatta, panino, bread roll), meatballs, and tomato sauce. Additional ingredients can include Italian cheese (for example, mozzarella or provolone), butter, and vegetables.

Meatballs are also a popular pizza topping, especially in Upstate New York. Some recipes call for whole meatballs, but if the meatballs are too big, they may be cut in half, sliced, or broken up and spread over the dough. There’s also a variation of meatball pizza where meatballs are baked into the crust.

Another popular American meatball dish is porcupine meatballs. Since they require only a few basic and relatively affordable ingredients, porcupine meatballs were a staple during the Great Depression. To prepare the dish, meatballs made of ground beef, uncooked rice and minced onions are pan-seared and slowly simmered in canned tomato soup. As rice pokes out of the meatballs as they cook, they begin to resemble porcupines, hence the name.

Meatball stew (ragoût de boulettes) is a staple of Quebecois cuisine. It consists of pork meatballs with onion and spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg) that are simmered in a thick gravy. Meatball stew is usually served with a side of mashed or boiled potatoes and pickled beets. The dish is so popular throughout the province that you can buy canned meatball stew in most Quebecois supermarkets.

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National Meatball Day, unofficial holidays, holidays in the United States, food days, food holidays, meatballs