March 7th, 2014
Sandwiched on a low-key block in Ballard, between a small salon and The Fresh Fish Company seafood market, sits Seattle legend Cascioppo Bros. The Cascioppo name has been linked with artisan sausage since the ’70s. That’s when Sam Cascioppo opened up his butcher shop and began selling to prominent Italian markets and restaurants in Seattle.
“My father sold his sausage at DeLaurenti Food & Wine and that’s how Dorene Centioli-McTigue came to try it. She was the owner of Pagliacci at the time,” says Cascioppo President and Owner Tony Cascioppo. “She really loved our Italian sausage, so we tweaked the recipe a little for her and she started using it on pizza at the original University pizzeria.”
It wasn’t long before Cascioppo’s Hot Italian Sausage was flying out the door. To this day, Tony says, it’s their most popular product. Years later, after Co-Owners Matt Galvin and Pat McDonald acquired Pagliacci, they approached Cascioppo about making a meatball for our pizza. Tony pulled out an old family recipe. By that point we had tasted a lot of meatballs, and this one was easily the winner.
“Meatballs weren’t something we sold, but my father had a great meatball recipe that I grew up eating,” says Tony. “It’s just so simple and wholesome. Matt and Pat loved it and that’s how the meatball pizza came to be. Now we make these meatballs exclusively for Pagliacci.”
Since we first introduced Mama’s Meatball, we’ve played around with toppings to create a winning combination. We pair the meatballs with Mama Lil’s peppers for a little kick and round out the flavors with ricotta and mozzarella on our seasoned tomato sauce. You won’t find these meatballs in Cascioppo’s shop, nor will you see them on our menu most of the year. But, through March 18, you can sink your teeth into this delicious pizza or add meatballs to your favorite pie.