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.Jump to Recipe
My favorite combination for meatballs (or meatloaf for that matter) is a combination of ground beef, pork, and veal. 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 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.
Either pan brown the meatballs in olive oil, then transfer them to a baking dish. Or bake them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Don’t get too particular about the browning process, this step lets the cooking process begin and tends to help the meatballs stay together before finishing in the sauce.
You can easily double or triple this recipe as I did above. Italian Meatballs are such a crowd pleaser and they’re just as good the next day!!
Once browned, cover your meatballs in a nice blanket of your favorite Marinara Sauce for baking or submerge them in a pot of your favorite tomato sauce and let them simmer gently. 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.
For the Meatballs
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1/2 pound ground pork or ground veal
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
- 2 Tablespoons milk or cream
- 1 Tablespoon garlic minced
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- a good handful of fresh parsley finely chopped
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
For Pan Browning
- 2-3 Tbl. olive oil for pan browning
- 2 cups Marinara Sauce
- Cooked pasta optional
- Garnish with fresh basil and freshly grated Parmesan cheese
For the Meatballs
- 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 2 1/2-inch diameter balls.
For Pan Browning Method
- 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 5 minutes before serving.
For the Oven Browning Method
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place meatballs on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes (for smaller meatballs reducee the cooking time). Transfer to a pot of marinara sauce and simmer gently for 15 to 30 minutes.
- Serve meatballs over favorite cooked pasta. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese and fresh basil.