Tag Archives: meatballs

7 Italian American-Owned Food Businesses in the Carolinas

Here is a list of some of my favorite local food products and food trucks in North Carolina and South Carolina owned by Italian Americans.

Nellino’s Sauce Co.–A pasta sauce company started in Raleigh, North Carolina, by Italian-American Neal McTighe based on his mother’s and great-grandmother’s recipes for classic sauces like marinara or tomato and basil made with good ingredients.


Melina’s Fresh Pasta–Italian-American owner Carmella makes classic fresh pastas like spaghetti and linguine as well as many creative ravioli like roasted red pepper & feta or goat cheese & honey. There’s even the pimento cheese ravioli. She also teaches pasta making classes in Durham, North Carolina.



Barone Meatball Company–Serving up classic Italian meatballs as well as fun creations like buffalo chicken meatballs and vegetarian ricotta balls. Owned by Italian-American Stephen Dewey, based in Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina.



Oak City Amaretto–An Italian-American amaretto made by Italian-American Anthony Scalabrino from a recipe inspired by his grandmother’s homemade amaretto, made in Raleigh, North Carolina.


Benny T’s Vesta–The first dry hot sauce available in five grades of heat made from a variety of fresh chile peppers grown in North Carolina, created by Italian-American chile enthusiast Ben Tuorto.


Charleston Bloody Mary Mix–A bloody Mary mix made by Italian-American Ryan Eleuteri that has all good ingredients and no horseradish–its distinctive flavor comes from a habanero mash, made in Charleston, South Carolina, found throughout the East Coast and Midwest.


Mr. A’s Beignets–A food truck serving delicious beignets and coffee with chicory New Orleans style in Apex, North Carolina, owned by Italian-American Arlton Cangelosi.


All photos in this article were used with permission of their respective owners.

–Dina Di Maio, author of Authentic Italian: The Real Story of Italy’s Food and Its People, available at Amazon.com

***All writings and photographs are the intellectual property of me, unless I’ve noted otherwise, and can only be used with permission. If you are inspired by this blog, please use professional courtesy to note it.***

Neapolitan Carnevale Meatballs


For Carnevale (aka Mardi Gras, aka Shrove Tuesday, aka Fat Tuesday) in Naples, it was traditional to make giant meatballs with raisins served in tomato sauce with spaghetti.  This recipe comes from my great-grandmother and grandmother, who are both from Naples.


Here is a picture of the inside of the meatballs to see the raisins.  I used regular and golden raisins and made pork meatballs.


Neapolitan Carnevale Meatballs with Raisins


2 pounds chopped meat–beef, pork, veal or just one or a mix of all

2 or 3 large eggs

2/3 cup grated pecorino romano cheese

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 tablespoon dried basil

3 cloves minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

6 slices stale bread, pulsed quickly in food processor (large crumbs not fine)

1/2 cup raisins

Combine all ingredients, except the bread, in a large bowl.  When well mixed, add enough bread to bind the meat mixture.  Shape into large balls, the size of a large egg.  Place the balls on a baking sheet, not touching, in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes or until done.  Alternatively, they can be added raw to tomato sauce for about 3 hours until done on low heat.  Serve with or without spaghetti.