Thursday, February 15, 2007

Italian Meatballs – Let’s get rolling!

While the ingredient list may look a bit long, home-made meatballs are a very easy to make, and since we skip the very messy step of pan-frying these before they hit the sauce, it becomes downright simple. Here I use a standard 1/2 beef, 1/2 pork mixture. Some recipes use 1/3 beef, veal, and pork, which is also nice, yet more expensive. These days you can find all sorts of lean to fat ratios for ground beef. Most stores sell 90% lean, 10% fat, but I prefer the 80% lean, 20% fat ratio for this recipe.

The other trick here is soaking the bread crumbs in milk before adding. This makes for a moister meatball, and the milk actually helps keep them tender. If you make your meatballs the same size (golf ball) I do, this recipe will make about 30 portions.

This is one of those dishes that just get better the next day. So, if you have time, make these a day ahead and refrigerate in the sauce and re-heat slowly the next day to serve. The meatballs will be even more tender and flavorful. I know I will get emails requesting the sauce recipe, so let me save you the time and tell you that I plan on filming a nice meat sauce soon.



1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1/3 plain bread crumbs
1/2 cup milk (can substitute water or beef broth)
1 diced onion
2 tbl olive oil
3 cloves crushed garlic
2 eggs
1/4 bunch fresh parsley
2 tbl grated parmesan cheese
2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp red cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried Italian herb mix (basil, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, etc.)

* Once shaped, bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes, then simmer slowly in a rich tomato sauce for 1-2 hrs.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Chef John, did you ever post that tasty meat sauce? Can't find it!

Chef John said...

not yet, its coming.

Anonymous said...

I too hope you post a tasty meat sauce. I want to make lasagna but I am a bad cook. Please please please post a tasty meat sauce. I am always checking. You are the best.

Anonymous said...

I am waiting too for the meat sauce
I love your website
I have a small catering business
Self taught and you help me alot
Thanks

Anonymous said...

I just tried out the recipe, and it was really, really good! New way for me to make meatballs, but an absolute improvement. They turned out succulent and great tasting.

I made the following changes from the original recipe: Instead of frying just the onion, I fried also the garlic, and used about half a garlic, that I peeled and finely chopped and fried until tender in a frying pan along with the onion, taking care not to burn either. This makes the taste milder, and it turned out good in the finished meatballs. I also didn't use milk or oil, I just used a fat reduced cooking cream, with a fat content of 20%, this simplifies the recipe, as you don't have to use fat (oil) and liquid (water, milk, stock). I also used rolled oats, the "quick cook" type instead of breadcrumbs, as I don't have bread in my house. I used a mixer to crush up all the onions and garlic and spices before I added the meat. The ground beef and pork that I used was leaner than what is recommended in the recipe, but I think that the cream made up for that. I used more of the oats/cream mixture than specified in the recipe, about twice as much, so that means more fat.

I have to admit that I used canned sauce, "Dolmio Extra Garlic", but letting it simmer for an hour really added flavour to the sauce.

These are the best meatballs that I've ever made, really, I enjoyed them a lot, and will definately make them again, and I'll make variations of them.

Thanks again for a really good recipe!

Meka said...

These were the best meatballs I've ever made! They were absolutely delicious! I used turkey instead of the beef and pork...but I sure did use the garlic like you said =)

Anonymous said...

Olá Chef John, greetings from Portugal.

Great recipe. Will try it this weekend. Can you point me to the meat sauce? Can't seem to find it.

Thank you.

PS: will you release another DVD?

Kahi said...

Thanks chef John, this was delicious... Your the BEST

Anonymous said...

Hey! Can I use panko for the breadcrums?

Chef John said...

sure

Kim said...

Hi Chef John,
I am new to your site and I am very pleased that you have a video to compliment each recipe. It definately helps as a visual! I just tried your Italian Meatballs and they were a success. I followed the recipe exactly, with the exception of adding more salt. I find it is a must for meets. I like how you bake the meatballs in the oven, rather than on the stove, which can cause a lot of splatters and mess! Thanks for the recipe!

Bill C said...

The best.

Anonymous said...

Can meatballs be cooked a couple of days in advance of a get together? Should I wait to cook them the day of, or maybe cook and refrigerate or freeze?

Chef John said...

all of the above work!

Jules68 said...

I made these yesterday and we loved them! I normally throw them in the sauce and skip the pre-cooking but this is a good way to get them to the table quicker. Although my smoke alarms went off while they were in the oven so I think I'll skip that part next time and just throw them in a crockpot to cook all day. thanks for a great recipe, this one is a keeper!

Sy said...

Hi, chef John.
I'm sure this would be fabulous with one of those home-made sauces, but I barely have time to do the meatballs. If I put this into some Ragu or something else off of the shelf, how long should I simmer the meatballs in that, if at all?

Olive Eyes said...

This is the BEST recipe ever! We've made these twice now and they are fabulous...I am doubling the recipe tonight and making them for my parents 40th wedding anniversary party tomorrow. Thank you!!

Olive Eyes said...

This is the BEST recipe ever! We've made these twice now and they are fabulous...I am doubling the recipe tonight and making them for my parents 40th wedding anniversary party tomorrow. Thank you!!

Olive Eyes said...

This is the BEST recipe ever! We've made these twice now and they are fabulous...I am doubling the recipe tonight and making them for my parents 40th wedding anniversary party tomorrow. Thank you!!

Olive Eyes said...

This is the BEST recipe ever! We've made these twice now and they are fabulous...I am doubling the recipe tonight and making them for my parents 40th wedding anniversary party tomorrow. Thank you!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John,
We have found you and our lives are the happier for it. We had help for many years and decided to take back the kitchen. it has been FAB and thanks to the great way you prepare your videos it has been a happy time all around! My husband loves to cook and he even hs the kids involved...so thanks!!!

Chef John said...

Thanks!! :)

Julie in Virginua said...

Made your famous tomato sauce and then whipped up a batch if these. Wow! They are so good. I love how you come right into my kitchen through video ;)

And I made the tomato sauce with San Marzanos from my very own garden.

Thanks for all the work you do to translate fine cooking into easy every day recipes.

Chef John said...

thanks!

Chef John said...

thanks!

John Steinhauer said...

Thank you Chef John, For all of the wonderful recipes that you have posted. Of all of them, This is one of the BEST!!!! I make These twice a month and freeze in serving size containers. For all of you that want a great meat sauce, I would recommend going to the Christmas Lasagna recipe. that is an EXCELLENT meat sauce, as well as the best lasagna I have ever tasted. I also make that once or twice a month!!!!

Eric B. said...

Heres a tip if you dont want to dirty a pan to saute the onions. I just put them on a plate in the microwave for 2 mins or so stirring halfway. I DID use 2lbs of 93% fat free ground sirloin and they still came out moist and delicious. Best meatballs I ever made, thanks Chef John!

CaptChris said...

Chef John,

Will I ruin these meatballs if I add fennel seed? I was thinking about 1 1/2 to 2 tsp.

Chef John said...

Sorry, can't answer these questions of taste! I'd have no idea if you'd like it or not. I wouldn't personally though. Thanks!

Mikey B said...

Chef John, this recipe is absolutely amazing. I grew up with an Italian grandmother and mother always cooking delicious food's and this recipe rivals their own meatball recipes. I added 1 lb of ground veal to mine in addition to the pork and beef and adjusted all other ingredients accordingly. I also ended up having to cook on the 20 to 25 minute side, but perhaps I made the meatballs too big. Also let the meat mixture sit for several hours in the fridge versus just one. All of my guests were amazed. Excellent, EXCELLENT recipe.

Karyn Mastrude said...

Thank you again, Chef John for another amazing tasting (yet simple) recipe. My meatballs are worth raving about and my husband hasn't stopped oooohing and ahhhing over the hot meatball sub sandwiches.
I made one MINOR change (of an addition only) - I had a small amount of plain Greek yogurt and added that to my meatball mix. It made them that much more moist.
I learn from you everyday, Chef John! THANK YOU for all you do; recording videos, editing, narrating with your humor, your time, energy - it all means a lot to so many people like me. Big HUGS and gratitude!