Italian Meatballs. Great. Big. Italian Meatballs.
I’m not sure how it happened but Spaghetti and Meatballs has become an absolute favorite meal for me. And really, it’s all about the meatballs. I like them big and soft and full of Italian flavors like garlic, basil and oregano.
Somewhere along the way we began freezing ground meat in Ziploc bags like this one. A quart sized bag will nicely hold one pound of ground meat, squeezed flat, for easy freezer storage and a quick thaw.
My favorite combination for meatballs (or meatloaf for that matter) is equal amounts of ground beef and ground pork.
Just add a few more simple ingredients and you are less than an hour away from heaven. Great. Big. Italian Meatball Heaven.
If I had to share one tip that I’ve learned about making meatballs (or meatloaf) is do not overwork the meat mixture. Combine all of your ingredients, except the meat, into a large bowl then add your ground meat and gently mix until just combined. I can do this with a few good squeezes of my hands before rolling into meatballs. One pound of ground meat will yield 8 great big meatballs. Yes, they take a little longer to bake, but in my opinion it is so worth it. You’ll find two meatballs is a generous serving, even for your hungry man.
Bonus tip: declare one pan in your kitchen your Utility Pan (ours is shown above). Don’t get caught up with how it looks, just know it’s your secret weapon.
I pan brown the meatballs in olive oil, then transfer them to a baking dish. Don’t get too particular about the browning process, this step lets the cooking process begin and tends to help the meatballs stay together.
Cover them in a nice blanket of your favorite Marinara Sauce and you’re ready for baking. If however, you’re not ready for baking…just cover them in plastic wrap and refrigerate them until ready. You can definitely prepare these a day ahead, which makes them perfect for entertaining. Who doesn’t love great big Italian Meatballs.
- ½ pound ground beef
- ½ pound ground pork
- 1 egg
- ½ cup fresh bread crumbs
- 2 Tbl. cream
- 1 Tbl. minced garlic
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- a good handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
- 2-3 Tbl. olive oil, for pan browning
- 2 cups Marinara Sauce
- Cooked pasta, optional
- Garnish with fresh basil and freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the ground meat. Mix well. Add in ground beef and pork and gently combine with hands. Do not overwork mixture. Form mixture into (8) about 2½-inch diameter balls.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray and reserve.
- Add 1 Tbl. olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, brown meatballs. Transfer to baking dish. Spoon marinara sauce over meatballs.
- Bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
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