For the meatballs:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cubanelle or 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, sirloin or chuck
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup beef consommé or stock
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (a couple of handfuls)
For the croutons:
- 1 loaf semolina bread, cubed
- 1 teaspoon granulated onion
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 2 tablespoons thyme, finely chopped
For the provolone fondue:
- 2 cups shredded aged provolone
- 2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese
- 3 tablespoon flour
- 1 large clove garlic, crushed
- 2 cups dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
For the meatballs, heat a skillet over medium heat with the olive oil, two turns of the pan. Add the onion, pepper and garlic and cook until very tender. Remove from the heat and cool.
Place the meat in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Wet the panko with the consommé or stock and add to the meat along with the egg, cheese and cooked onion, pepper and garlic. Combine well and roll into 1 1/2-2-inch balls. Arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet; cover and let stand for 30 minutes to combine the flavors.
Pre-heat the oven to 350°F and season the croutons with onion, garlic and thyme. Toss and toast in the oven to light golden but not totally dry.
Raise the oven temperature to 400°F and roast the meatballs until crispy at the edges and browned, 18-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the fondue: Toss the cheeses with the flour and rub a fondue pot or medium size saucepot with garlic. Throw the clove into the pot with the wine and bring to low simmer. Remove the garlic and add the lemon juice. Add the cheese a fat handful at a time and melt using a wooden spoon and stirring in a figure-8 motion. Once fully melted, add the next addition of cheese.
Serve the balls and croutons around the fondue pot with the bamboo skewers or fondue forks, for dipping.