Meatballs are a recurring favorite in this household. My husband absolutely loves them (especially if you slather them in soft, melted cheese and sauce), and this cook loves them for their versatility. Spaghetti and meatballs, meatball sandwiches, meatballs served with a large side salad—so many ways to enjoy them!
When I make meatballs, I always whip up a large batch. They freeze extremely well and make the perfectly easy weeknight meal (this math teacher needs something quick to whip up after a long day corralling teenagers). Personally, I brown them first and then freeze them in a homemade pasta sauce.
I have tried a litany of recipes for meatballs, and after tweaking and trying different things, I have come up with what I consider to be the ideal meatball. I have found that a 50/50 mix of ground beef to ground pork produces a meatball that has a lovely robust flavor and texture. I also use dried bread crumbs, as opposed to fresh, as my husband lives in fear of finding a chunk of wet bread in his meatball. We all have our issues…
1 cup seasoned dried bread crumbs
1/2 cup of milk
1 lb. ground beef – I use 93% lean
1 lb. ground pork
2 eggs lightly beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tbs finely chopped Italian parsley
2 tsp finely chopped fresh oregano
3 tbs finely chopped fresh basil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
Combine all of the above ingredients in a large bowl. Mix gently until everything is combined. I recommend using your hands. Do not overmix as you do not want to create meatball paste.
Shape the mixture into meatballs using your hands (lightly oiling your hands will keep the meat from sticking) or use a meat baller (yes there is such a thing). They critical keys are to not pack your meatballs real tight and to keep them uniform in size. I usually roll my meatballs with about a 2 inch diameter.
I prefer to brown my meatballs in the oven instead of pan frying. They’re healthier, less greasy, and you don’t have to deal with a messy clean-up. Place them on a rimmed cookie lined with parchment paper—have I mentioned how much I love parchment paper?!? Bake at 425 degrees for about 10 minutes.