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  • Writer's picturemandyjdc

Italian Meatballs

Updated: Dec 28, 2020

To quote Elizabeth Barrett Browning..."how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.."

Meatballs are probably one of my favorite things to cook. I love the feel of mashing all the ingredients together by hand. I love the smell of frying meatballs. I love to eat meatballs.

A beautiful, crunchy exterior with a tender, juicy interior = heaven.

They are probably the most iconic image that comes to mind when one thinks about Italian cuisine, next to pasta. The first known mention of (Italian/Roman) meatballs comes from an ancient Roman cookbook - Apicius, which is a compilation of recipes written sometime in the 1st century AD.

The great thing about meatballs is that they are extremely versatile. Many different cultures have their own version of ground meat mixed with different herbs/spices/fillings. All are delicious (there's a reason we're eating these thousands of years later), all are unique. You can make them with ground turkey, chicken, veal, sausage, beef, or hell....go crazy and mix several meats. A good combination is 1/3 parts beef, 1/3 parts sausage, 1/3 parts veal. Do whatever your heart desires.

I'm partial to an all beef meatball. Plus, it's easy. Here's what you'll need:


1 lb ground beef

1 ciabatta roll (or slices of any white bread - French, Italian, etc.)

1 C milk

1/2 C grated parmesan

1/2 C finely chopped white or yellow onion

5 tsp minced garlic

2 large egg yolks

1 large egg

2 Tbl white wine (Pinot Grigio or Sauv Blanc)

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/3 C chopped parsley (I like flat leaf Italian parsley - it's easier to chop)

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/3 C olive oil (enough to cover bottom of skillet or pan)

3 sprigs of fresh rosemary (optional)

How To:

  1. Cut bread/roll into 1 inch cubes. Let the cubes sit out overnight or 48 hours to dry out. If you forget, or are short on time, put cubes on a cookie sheet and bake in a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes. Pulse bread in a food processor until you get a breadcrumb consistency. You can, of course, use store bought breadcrumbs but this method makes for super moist meatballs . Soak breadcrumbs in 1 C milk for 30 minutes . Squeeze out excess milk. Set milk soaked breadcrumbs aside.

  2. In a large bowl, combine meat, breadcrumbs, egg, egg yolks, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, parsley, garlic, wine, onion, salt and pepper. Mix by hand until just combined.

  3. Heat oil in skillet or pan over Medium heat.

  4. Roll meat into balls, about the size of a golf ball. I flatten them just a little bit so that they're not rolling all over the place in the pan.

  5. Place rosemary in the pan, and add meatballs. Cook for 3 minutes on one side, making sure not to move the meatball - it will fall apart. Turn over meatballs and cook for another 3 minutes to brown the other side. Make sure to baste meatballs a few times with the juice/oil in the skillet to keep the meatballs moist.

  6. Turn heat down to low and cover pan/skillet with a lid. Cook for about 8 minutes. I turn my meatballs at the halfway mark to ensure even cooking.

  7. **Note: every stove/pan/skillet cooks slightly differently. I like to use my cast iron skillet and there is definitely a hot spot at the center, so I rotate the meatballs from center to perimeter and vice versa to keep from having undercooked meatballs cooked on the outer side of the skillet and burnt meatballs in the center of the skillet** I had to experiment quite a bit to get it just right.

Fun fact, Italians eat meatballs plain as a snack. No sauce, and not in spaghetti (that's an American thang). But, for aesthetic purposes, here's the final product with homemade marinara sauce. Enjoy!


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1 commentaire

Kiki Iaccheo Joest
Kiki Iaccheo Joest
27 déc. 2020

Best sugar cookies ever ! I’ve never had such great icing. Not too sweet and not hard.

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