Recipe for the Best Italian Meatballs
This is a Meatball Recipe made with three kinds of Ground Meat -
Beef, Veal and Pork. The seasonings are traditional Italian and can be
found in most kitchens. These Meatballs can be fried in oil on the
stove-top or baked in the oven - I prefer to bake mine for a less
These can be frozen and used later - I usually make a big batch, cook them in the oven until almost done, then freeze them. Then when I need a few Meatballs, I defrost them in the refrigerator the night before and finish the baking in the oven while I cook my pasta!
These also make a tasty Meatball Sandwich - either from the leftovers or as a meal on their own!
Homemade Bread Crumbs
Tip: If you want to make your own breadcrumbs, it's easier than you might think! My favorite method is to buy a loaf of Italian bread a few days before I make the meatballs. Cut it into 1-inch slices and leave it on the counter to dry. After a few days you'll have nice dry bread. Place it into the food processor and use the chopping blade; pulse until fine crumbs form. You can do this with any kind of bread you like, even sliced sandwich bread!
If you don't have a few days to prepare, you can place the sliced bread on a baking sheet in the oven at 200 degrees and let it bake for 30 to 40 minutes until dry and crusty.
- 2 pounds "Meatloaf Mix" (see below)
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- 2 Eggs, beaten
- 1 cup Parmesan Cheese (fresh grated is best!)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped Flat Leaf Parsley
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 2 cups Breadcrumbs (see below for tips on making your own breadcrumbs)
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups warm Water
"Meatloaf Mix" is a mixture of equal parts Ground Beef, Ground Veal and Ground Pork. It should be available at most grocery Butcher counters - if not, the butcher should be able to prepare it for you. While you can use all Ground Beef, the flavor of the final product will not be nearly as good!
Ground Meat Safety
There are two key safety tips when it comes to ground meat.
- WASH YOUR HANDS OFTEN! Raw ground meat can contain all kinds of nasties that can make you and your family sick, so when handling it always wash your hands thoroughly before touching other surfaces. So after mixing the Meatballs the first time, wash your hands before adding the Breadcrumbs!
- COOK the meat thoroughly! All those nasties I mentioned above will be killed off so long as you cook the meat to a well-done temperature. This is best checked with a quick-read meat thermometer, but if you cut into the meat and it looks brown all the way through, it's done!
- Combine the three Meats in a large metal or glass mixing bowl.
- Add the Garlic, Beaten Eggs, Parmesan Cheese, Parsley and Salt and Pepper.
- Mix with your hands to combine.
- Add the Bread Crumbs to the Meat mixture and mix together again. Add the Water 1/2 cup at a time and mix together. You want the mixture to be moist but not watery - it needs to hold its Meatball shape when you're done!
- Use you hands to shape the Meat into Meatballs, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. If you're really picky (like me!) you can weigh the Meatballs to make sure they're all the same size (this helps ensure that they all finish cooking at the same time). I usually make mine 3.5 to 4 ounces in weight.
Quick Read Thermometer
The best way to tell if they are done is with a quick-read meat thermometer - the internal temperature should be 175 degrees to ensure they are cooked through. If you don't have a thermometer you should get one! Or, take one of the meatballs and break it open gently with the tip of a knife - the meat should be brown right through to the center.
To fry the Meatballs: Place enough Olive Oil to cover the bottom of a skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add the Meatballs to the Oil in batches - you don't want to crowd the pan. The number of Meatballs per batch will depend on how big your pan is, but they should be at least an inch apart on all sides. Cook the Meatballs until they're browned on all sides. When done, remove and place on paper towels to drain. Add them to your pasta sauce and cook an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
To bake the Meatballs: Place a wire rack over a baking sheet - this will allow the fat to drip away from the Meatballs as they bake. Place the Meatballs on the wire rack and place in a 425 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and place into the pasta sauce and cook another 5 to 10 minutes.
To freeze the Meatballs: Whether frying or baking, stop cooking the meatballs about 5 minutes before they're finished, or when the internal temperature is about 165 degrees. Let them cool completely, then separate into plastic zip-top bags and freeze.
This Recipe is from Edweirdo's Cookbook!
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Marko Dinitrov on January 06, 2019:
first heard about 3 meat formula, I must try, thanks :)
Michele on May 15, 2010:
Thank you! This sounds very much like my brother's recipe that I have been trying to recreate. Can hardly wait to make these!
Daddy Paul from Michigan on February 06, 2010:
I like the three meat formula.
Derek James from South Wales on February 05, 2010:
Great balls of meat! Will try when I have more time. Thanks, Edweirdo
Edweirdo (author) from United States on February 04, 2010:
Thanks, Springboard! Please let me know how they turn out ;)
Springboard from Wisconsin on February 04, 2010:
Okay, you definitely have my attention. I will be trying this soon...on the next scheduled batch of spaghetti to be sure. I'll be back. :)