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Best Italian Meatball Recipes

Best Italian Meatball Recipes

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Italian Meatball Shopping Tips

Italian food is about simplicity and letting the ingredients shine. So make sure you get ingredients that are great quality and flavor. Farmers markets and specialty stores will have great produce and products. Just be sure to have some great olive oil.

Italian Meatball Cooking Tips

Unlike other highly regarded cuisines, Italian cooking is usually simple to make with many dishes having only 4 to 8 ingredients. Italian cooks rely chiefly on the quality of the ingredients rather than on elaborate preparation.

Gordon Ramsay’s Best Italian Meatballs

If you’re looking for a truly, dummy-proof Italian meatball recipe, your search is over. These Gordon Ramsay Meatballs are traditional Italian meatballs at their best. A mixture of beef and pork deliver an abundance, aromatics, and the added romano makes these meatballs extremely tasty, along with some milk added assures they’re moist and super tender.

These meatballs are precisely what you crave stacked high onto your spaghetti or any pasta, as a matter of fact. They can also be used when you want to make a meatball sub sandwich or what my family and I do eat all by themself on a plate with tomato sauce with sprinkled cheese on top.

My favorite pan to make meatballs with is a Non-Stick Fry Pan from All-Clad Safe a PFOA-free Non-Stick Fry Pan at Amazon. Great for cooking at higher heat with oils to develop foods with full, rich flavor, color, and crisp texture.

Homemade italian meatballs

In Italy, meatballs are actually called Polpette. They are made by combining a mix of beef and pork, spices and binders such as eggs and breadcrumbs. These binders help the meatballs hold their form and add to their texture.

These classic Italian style meatballs are flavorful and delicious! The herbs add the perfect amount of flavor to compliment the marinara.

Try serving this delicious pan of meatballs with a tube pasta. The tube shapes hold the sauce and makes it easy to get a forkful of noodle with each bite of meatball. Serving with spaghetti or fettuccine is always a tasty bite-full as well – making for one delicious dinner!

Real Italian Meatball Recipe

I heard about Connie’s meatballs over 25 years ago, even before I was married to Meg. She told me they were the best meatballs she’d ever eaten. This is Connie’s meatball recipe.

Connie is the mother of Susan, one of Meg’s best friends. I’ve met Connie several times over the years and have asked her to share her meatball recipe with me after my own opportunity to try them. As usual for many home cooks, she said, “I don’t have a recipe. I just make them as my mother taught me.”

Well, a few years back, Susan watched her mom make them with a pad and pencil in hand and this recipe is the result of that afternoon. I’ve been sitting on this recipe for a while and just found it in my archive of mail from Susan.

Is It the Best Meatball Recipe?

Personally, I think Connie’s meatballs are among the best I’ve ever enjoyed. Like mashed potatoes, I’m sure how your mom makes them is going to be the best but these are really good.

I’m also guessing it depends on where you are from, since I expect your favorite meatball recipe will likely be influenced by geography. Even in Italy, I imagine meatballs from the north will have different ingredients and flavor than those from the south.

A Little Meatball History

I bet you think meatballs must come from Italy. At least that’s what I’ve always thought. But after a little research on the Internet, there are conflicting stories as to where meatball originated.

One site had them originating from Persia where they were prepared with leftover meat and called “kafta”. These meatballs were made from a combination of ground beef, pork, chicken or lamb and combined with bulgur or mashed lentils.

Then there is a great article in The Atlantic called Not Your Grandmother’s Meatball explaining that meatballs originated in Italy during the Roman empire. This comes from a collection of old recipes called “Apicius” dating back to the 4th or 5th century. They are called polpettes in Italy and range in size from marbles (polpettines) to 1-3/4 inch diameter.

A Meatball By Another Name

Whether meatballs originated in Italy or Persia, you’ll find them in just about every culture and called by a variety of names. Think about it. You have extra beef or veal or chicken, so what do you do? Grind it up, add some additional ingredients, a few herbs and spices and voila, you have a meatball. Here are some variations of meatballs from other countries.

  • Italy – polpettes
  • Denmark – frikadeller
  • Sweden – köttbullar
  • Germany – Königsberger klopse
  • China – wanzi or lion’s heads
  • Russian – tefteli
  • Spain – albondigas
  • South Africa – skilpedjies
  • Netherlands – bitterballen
  • France – boulettes de viandes

Spaghetti and Meatballs

In America when you think meatballs, you most likely associate them with spaghetti. Right? Spaghetti and Meatballs.

This may be true in the United States, but in Italy most restaurants don’t serve meatballs with pasta. Spaghetti and meatballs is an American invention.

In Italy, meatballs are considered more “peasant” food and reserved for home cooking. Italians eat multiple courses with pasta being the first course followed up by a meat course which could include meatballs.

It is most likely that meatballs were brought to America by Italian immigrants during the “late 19th and early 20th centuries.” These immigrants didn’t have a lot of money so they made their own meatballs with cheaper cuts of beef, combined them with inexpensive spaghetti and made a sauce from imported canned tomatoes.

Over the years, meatballs have evolved into many variations depending on where you come from and what ingredients you have on hand. You can find them fresh at high end markets or frozen in the freezer island at your local supermarket.

Connie’s meatballs do take a little time to make but I’m sure once you’ve tried them, you’ll say it was worth the effort.

Active ingredients

  • 3/4 lb hamburger (80/20).
  • 3 eggs Beaten.
  • 1/2 C marjoram – chopped.
  • 3/4 C Pecorino Romano cheese – grated + even more to serve.
  • 1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil.
  • kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.
  • 3/4 lb ground pork.
  • 1 1/2 C panko breadcrumbs– taken in milk.
  • 1/2 C parsley– cut.
  • 3 cloves garlic.
  • 1/4 C yearn nuts.

Steps to make Italian Meatball Recipe Mario Batali

Step 1: In a shallow dish, soak the breadcrumbs in milk to cover for a min or two.

Step 2: Drain the breadcrumbs as well as squeeze with your fingers to extract excess moisture.

Step 3: In a huge bowl, integrate the drenched breadcrumbs, pork, beef, parsley, eggs, marjoram, garlic, want nuts, pecorino, salt and pepper, and blend with your hands to incorporate.

Step 4: With your hands damp, create the blend into 12-15 meatballs, each somewhat larger than a golf round.

Step 5: In a big, high-sided saute frying pan, include the tomato sauce as well as offer a simmer.

Step 6: Add the meatballs to the sauce as well as give a simmer.

Step 7: Prepare the meatballs over medium-low heat for thirty minutes.

Step 8: Offer with even more grated Pecorino Romano cheese ahead.

If you like, you can also share your particular comments, positive or adverse – as well as any type of tips or replacements.

How Do I Get My Meatballs to Stick Together?

The combination of bread crumbs and egg are the “binder” that holds your meatballs together. If the mixture gets too moist it can become soggy, which makes it hard to form the meatballs.

If you run into this problem, start by adding panko bread crumbs 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture allows you to form nice, rounded meatballs.

Be careful not to wind up adding too much extra bread crumbs, or you’ll end up with a meatball mixture that is too loose that will not hold it’s shape.

• Soak the pieces of bread in 1/2 cup of milk for 5 minutes, then squeeze them dry. In a large mixing bowl, combine the soaked bread, the beaten egg and mix in the other ingredients.

• Knead the mixture with both hands or beat with a wooden spoon – hands are better as my mamma will gladly tell you. Keep at it until all the ingredients are well blended and the mixture is smooth and fluffy.

• Shape into balls about 1 and a 1/2 inches round. Lay the meatballs out on a baking tray, cover them with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.

• Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large skillet. Fry the meatballs over a moderately high heat, keep the balls rolling all the time and keep them round.

• In 8 − 10 minutes, the meatballs should be brown outside and show no trace of pink inside.

• Add more oil to the skillet as needed. Cook until the sauce thickens slightly.

I serve mine with a tomato based sauce but I leave the choice of sauce up to you. You can use this one if you like - leaving out the Parma ham.


For the Meatballs:

  • ▢ 2/3 loaf of French or Italian bread submerged in cold water
  • ▢ 2 small or 1 large peeled and small diced yellow onion
  • ▢ 4 finely minced cloves of garlic
  • ▢ 1 ½ pounds of 90/10 ground sirloin
  • ▢ 1 ½ pounds of ground pork
  • ▢ 4 eggs
  • ▢ ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ▢ 1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • ▢ 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • ▢ 1 heaping cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ▢ 1 ½ tablespoons sea salt and ½ teaspoon pepper

For the Sauce and Spaghetti






  • 1/3 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.

Soak bread crumbs in milk in a small bowl for 20 minutes.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir onions in hot oil until translucent, about 20 minutes.

Mix beef and pork together in a large bowl. Stir onions, bread crumb mixture, eggs, parsley, garlic, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, Italian herb seasoning, and Parmesan cheese into meat mixture with a rubber spatula until combined. Cover and refrigerate for about one hour.

Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

Using wet hands, form meat mixture into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Arrange onto prepared baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven until browned and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.

The Best Italian Meatballs You Will Ever Eat

There’s been a lot of fuss about this upcoming Valentine’s Day, and about cooking for someone in general. One redditor suggested that for V-Day, you should “[b]e her renaissance man,” and that, when cooking for someone, you should “[s]ee that project through, from choosing the right ingredients, to the right music selection, to the perfect message, to impeccable timing.”

To that, I say, “Nonsense!” Don’t get me wrong, if you really are a Renaissance man or woman, go for it. If you have the skill to make an intensely labored-over, fancy meal, complete with the perfect atmosphere and presentation, I tip my metaphorical hat to you. However, when did that become the expectation for romantic meals?

The perfect meal for Valentine’s Day, to me, is like a great relationship: romantic, well-balanced, comfortable, flavorful, and fun. If it’s something you have to put too much work into or become too stressed over, it’s just not right. When I think of a good meal for romance, I don’t think of some complex French haute cuisine. I think of a big plate of Spaghetti and Meatballs.

The horror! The blasphemy! But why?! I’ll tell you why Because it tastes great, when done well. If you can perfect the meatball and marinara, serve it with some garlic bread or garlic knots, and throw in a great wine, you’ve got a heck of a satisfying and impressive meal. The steps aren’t too labor-intensive, so you don’t wind up anxiety-ridden or with a botched meal, and there is a lot of room to make it your own.

To set the mood of the meal, feel free to add a candle or two, and that’s all you really need to do. If you don’t believe me, try to think of the most romantic dinner scene that you can remember. Was it the scene from Lady and the Tramp with the spaghetti-induced kiss? That scene has been the epitome of a romantic meal since 1955, and has been shared for generations. While sharing a plate of spaghetti might be a bit messy, it opens the meal up for a mash-up of silliness and sweetness that you’ll remember for years to come. If that’s not your style, using two plates is fine, as long as you at least make a joke about the spaghetti-kiss. It’s a must.

As I’ve said before, perfecting the meatball and marinara is key, so I’m here to share my recipes for both. Follow this link to see yesterday’s post containing the marinara recipe, and scroll down to find out how to make the Best Italian Meatballs You Will Ever Eat.

A Few Notes Worth Mentioning About This Recipe:

  • If you’re adverse to consuming pork, feel free to use double ground beef or ground turkey. Both will work just fine but taste slightly different.
  • For the grated romano/parmesan cheese, most local grocers should have this in their deli section area. Please stay clear from the grated parmesan in the famous green bottle! You want quality grated cheese when making homemade meatballs, trust me on this.
  • I prefer to use an ice cream scoop, mine is exactly 1 1/2 tablespoon in size, to roll my meatballs. It helps make sure each one is uniform and consistent in size.
  • When searing the meatballs on the stovetop, some meatballs might stick or break up a little, this is ok too.
  • These meatballs can be stored in an airtight container and frozen for future use. Just thaw and reheat as necessary.
  • My absolute favorite way to eat these meatballs is with thick classic spaghetti noods, plenty of shaved parmesan, and all the garlic bread. However, other ways to consume this easy meatballs recipe include meatball subs, meatball soup (omit the pasta sauce), meatball sliders, meatballs in a casserole, on pizza, with a salad…literally the possibilities are endless! Go meatball crazy!
  • This recipe should make you 40 generously-sized meatballs that are great to have on hand for weeknight lunches and dinners to whip up in a pinch too.

Alrighty now, that’s it. I’m really hoping you all enjoy this meatball recipe and I can’t wait to see you make them!