Oh I know that post title may make you roll your eyes, because you thought your great aunt or grandma made the best meatballs or a local Italian joint.
And yes, I am sure they are delicious, but don’t count these babies out.
They pack so much flavor into such a small bite, that your taste buds start doing a crazy little happy dance. They are stay perfectly tender on the inside and crisp on the outside. And in sticking to my healthy eating philosophy,I have found a perfect trick to making these meatballs the healthier than any restaurant’s version or your Great Aunt Barb’s recipe.
But they what they have lost in fat and preservatives, they sacrifice NOTHING on flavor. When these meatballs top spaghetti and are smothered in my homemade tomato sauce, all my cares melt away while I savor the perfect combination of comfort.
But don’t limit yourself to only having these meatballs on just spaghetti.
They are fabulous topped on a whole grain hoagie or hot dog bun and smothered with sauce and cheese, or simmered into Italian Wedding Soup or tucked into pizza bread, as a marvelous little surprise.
Let your imagination run wild and share with me your uses for these meatballs–I always prepare a huge batch so I always have some to pull from my freezer.
So now onto the recipe. The players are extensive, but they are simple and your will find most of it already in your pantry. The only fresh herb I use is parsley–which is what 80 cents a bunch? A cheap but extremely worthwhile investment to bump up the flavor in these meatballs.
The base of your meatballs is truly up to you. I suggest using grass fed ground beef with a 15% fat content (85/15). You can use 80/20 for a much richer meatball or 90/10 ground sirloin for a leaner meatball. I would not increase or decrease the fat any more than this. You will either end up with a grease fire in your oven from too much fat or a dry meatball from not enough fat.
Yes, you can use ground turkey or chicken or sausage. My preference for the BEST meatballs is beef.
The recipe also calls for breadcrumbs. I use whatever bread I have leftover and grind it up in my blender or food processor to control the quality of ingredients. You can purchase store bought bread crumbs, but watch for added corn syrup and hydrogenated oils. It is easy to take leftover bread you have lying around and store in a large freezer bag in the freezer and at any time you can easily whip up homemade bread crumbs.
If you are gluten free, I would suggest using an equal amount of gf oats in place of breadcrumbs. While I was gluten free, I did that quite often and never felt like the texture or flavor of the meatball suffered.
One last tip with the ingredients, use freshly grated Parmesan cheese instead of pre-grated. It is a little bit of work, but again, the difference in flavor is through the roof.
Now in preparing the meatballs, mix all the ingredients together except the meat, until well combined. Add the meat and gently mix until just combined.
Don’t forget–your hands are your best tools for mixing meatballs!! The mixture will wash off your hands, I promise!!
Scoop the meatballs with a medium cookie scoop, rolling gently to shape if needed after scooping unto greased sheet pan. Handle the meatballs as little as possible–this will ensure they stay tender.
Onto my secret tip: steaming the meatballs in beef broth at a high temperature in the oven. The broth will be absorbed into the meat and evaporated some in the oven, so that after a short time, the broth is gone and meatballs will have a chance to sear and get a crunchy exterior without being fried or covered in oil to bake.
It is insane how well this works. Try it out–I promise you will be a believer.
So whether you are looking for a comforting meal, something delicious to stock your freezer with that is versatile, or you just want to eat something delicious, this meatball recipe is for you. I can’t wait for you to try it and be pleased.
- 2 lb ground beef
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup milk (any fat percentage works)
- 1 cup beef broth, divided
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- ½ tablespoon kosher salt
- ½ tablespoon pepper
- 1 tsp oregano
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- Combine the ingredients except for the meat well, using only ¼ cup of the beef broth. Add the meat and just combine. Do not over mix, but be sure seasonings are well dispersed.
- Coat a baking sheet with rimmed edges with non stick spray and roll meatballs into 1 inch circles. Pour reserved beef broth around meatballs and bake at 450 for 25 minutes