There is one problem with being an Italian who loves to cook. When ever anyone of my friends asks me to make something for them, 99% of the time....meatballs!! Now, everyone loves a good meatball but.....ask me to cook something else besides meatballs. It's like meatballs, meatballs, meatballs...enough with the meatballs!! So, I am very excited today to get this recipe out there. I am hoping that they will all learn how to make my meatballs and then they can ask me to cook a different dish. I have actually given my two biggest meatball fans coupons in the past for their birthdays to use during the year for meatball dinners. What is amazing about that is....they actually have the same birthday!! So Katie and Dom......better cash in those coupons because soon.... your moms will be making these meatballs for you....woohoo!!!!!!!
Meatballs are actually the most simple thing to make. I did do one thing in this recipe that adds alittle more work. I am using fresh bread cut into cubes, which is the true Italian way of making a meatball. This can absolutely be substituted with a regular bread crumb. It is easier and works just fine but I did want to show you how to do it with the bread. So you can choose the way you like your meatballs first. Try both ways before you decide.
1 LB GROUND BEEF (80/20 MIXTURE) 1 LB GROUND PORK *****YOU CAN ALSO USE THE MEATLOAF MIX YOU FIND IN STORES BUT I LIKE TO USE ONE PACKAGE OF BEEF AND ONE OF PORK.
SALT PEPPER 2 TBLSP GARLIC POWDER 2 TBLSP PARSLEY 1 CUP GRATED CHEESE (PREFERABLY PECORINO ROMANO) 2 EGGS OIL FOR FRYING
*****EITHER 1 CUP REGULAR BREAD CRUMBS OR 1 LOAF OF A CRUSTY ITALIAN BREAD LIKE I WILL SHOW ALONG THE WAY)
1 CUP OF MILK IF YOU CHOOSE TO USE THE FRESH BREAD
Begin by preparing your marinara sauce. You will find my recipe in the sauces section.
Add meat to a large bowl. The 80/20 mixture really is great for meatballs because it has a bit of that fat you need for flavor and texture. You can use only beef, like my mom. I like to add the pork for flavor, or as I said you can use a meatloaf mixture. It's all just what you prefer according to your taste. I will say my meatballs are delicious and everyone seems to love them and request them...but my moms...undeniably the best meatballs ever!! I don't get it. She does not love to cook...uses only beef...never uses fresh bread and they are amazing every time!! So see, sometimes simpler is good.
Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, cheese and egg. Now here's the problem. Since I am Italian and not very reliable with measuring, I will tell you......a general rule is to just sprinkle on and cover the top generously with all seasoning. That is definitely one mistake people make, they are afraid to season to much and tend to not season enough.
Now, the bread!! Ok at this point you can just add 1 cup of bread crumbs to the bowl and start mixing it up. OR....you can use the fresh bread. Choose a nice italian bread...I like to use the round loaves because they cut up easily and evenly. Cut it in strips then into cubes. Leave it out on the counter for a couple of hours to harden or put on a cookie sheet and in the oven at 350 degrees just to toast for a couple minutes. I just cut mine up in the morning then when I am ready it is crusty and crunchy.
Put the bread cubes in a large bowl and add milk. Let it soak it up just for a couple minutes and then pick it up with your hands and squeeze it all out and add it to the meat mixture.
There is no better kitchen tool than your hands!!! It's the only way and the best way. Take off your rings...cause that's just a problem you don't need. Here's one more trick.....warm water!!! Add a couple handfuls of warm water with your hands as your mixing. It helps to break down the fat and give you a very nice smooth texture that you want in a meatball. You wouldn't want the texture of a hamburger to be your result. So breaking down and incorporating the fat in the meat gives you that texture you are looking for. Just a couple handfuls will be perfect. Also, do not over mix. Just get all the ingredients incorporated. Over mixing will lead to a tougher meat.
Roll those beautiful meatballs!!! Again...this is all your choice...how big do you like your meatballs??? I like big ones....haha. Meatballs...of course!!
Now, any true Italian will agree....you gotta fry your meatballs. I know its a huge decision but....you will probably be eating the meatballs on a nice big plate of pasta so go ahead....fry those meatballs. I fry them in a pan using either vegetable oil or olive oil. Either is fine you just want to cook them about 5 minutes on each side just enough to brown completely. The meatballs will not be totally cooked. They will finish cooking in the sauce.
Drain them on a paper towel for a couple minutes then place them in the pot of marinara sauce. Let the whole pot come to a soft simmer and cook for about and hour. Cook with the cover half on and half off. This will help thicken your sauce by allowing some evaporation.
You can enjoy on a nice plate of pasta...on a hero sandwich or as my granchildren prefer all by themselves, They call this a meatball lollipop. I love it that they compare my meatballs to lollipops!! Soooo adorable!!
Any which way......ENJOY!!! Katie and Dom.....get your moms cooking!!!