What's For Dinner: Classic Italian Meatballs

What's For Dinner: Classic Italian Meatballs

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My meatball recipe is the second most asked about recipe by friends (the first being Chicken Broccoli Ziti). I have held off on sharing my recipe because I have never measured any of the ingredients before. To some of you this is a totally normal statement, you get it, a pinch of this, a palmful of that. But to some others, you’re probably like “what the hell do you mean you don’t measure”. Let me explain.

Normally when friends ask me how to make meatballs I give something like this as their measurements and instructions:

“Add a healthy palmful of breadcrumbs, then add half that amount in cheese, toss in one or two eggs depending on how it looks and crush up a bit of garlic and if you feel like it, add a handful of grated onion. Salt, um, you know, the normal amount. Then dump them in your sauce. Or you can fry them then dump. Oh, you can bake them and dump too. Whatever, just mix them up and cook them.”

So I decide to make a batch of my Classic Italian Meatballs and per my friend’s brilliant idea, I decide I’m going to measure! I even used real measuring cups and spoons, not just my hand and eye! I felt so much pressure to get the measurements right on this one that I made my favorite marinara and forgot to use the immersion blender, so I had very chunky sauce, which was fine but not what I was going for.

Now, on to the big debate – how to cook them. I have always been a simmer in the sauce girl.

I plop the formed meatballs right in. I know a lot of people don’t like this method, but it’s the way I grew up and I’m sticking with it. I dare you to tell my Nana that it’s not right!

What You'll Need

1 lb ground beef

1 lb ground pork

2 eggs

2 T parsley, freshly chopped

1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 C breadcrumbs, dry, seasoned

2 T milk

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly cracked

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

(optional: 1/2 sweet onion, grated)

2 jars prepared marinara sauce, or use recipe for My Favorite Marinara


1. Before mixing meatballs, bring marinara up to a simmer in a large pot.

2. To a large bowl add breadcrumbs and milk. Stir together with a fork so that the breadcrumbs become moistened. Add in the eggs, parsley, parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, black pepper and red pepper (if using onion, add it now too). Mix all together with a fork.

3. Add beef and pork to bowl and use your hands to combine the breadcrumb mixture into the meat.

4. Form meat mixture into balls. I used a 1/4 C measuring cup to portion out the meatballs for even sizing.

5. Drop meatballs into simmering sauce. Allow to simmer in sauce at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

See more classic recipes by Christine on her blog, Foody Schmoody Blog!

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