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Italian Meatballs

Italian Meatballs

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Makes about 2 dozen meatballs.
By Dennis W. Viau; from my Italian mother’s recipe.

When it comes to spaghetti and meatballs, it’s all about the meatballs and the sauce. Make delicious meatballs and use an excellent marinara sauce and you can use any store-bought dry spaghetti. To go really homemade: Make your own pasta. Recipes for Pasta From Scratch and Marinara are available on this web site.

My Italian mother made meatballs the size of your fist. They were like mini-meat loaves. This recipe makes traditional, more moderately sized meatballs. Although I am using fresh pasta dough to make my spaghetti, feel free to buy the dry spaghetti sold in the grocery stores. This recipe doesn’t provide the instructions for making your own sauce. See the recipe for homemade Marinara Sauce on the web site. A good jarred sauce that you know and trust will suffice.


1 pound (450g) lean ground beef
1 pound (450g) ground pork
(Some recipes use 1/3 each of ground beef, veal, and pork.)
4 large eggs (about 55g each, weighed in the shell)
6 tablespoons dry (or fresh) Italian parsley flakes
½ cup (125g) ricotta cheese
½ cup (50g) grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder or ½ medium onion, finely chopped and sautéed until tender, or caramelize
½ teaspoon oregano flakes; dry or fresh
Generous grating of fresh nutmeg, about ¼ teaspoon
½ teaspoon pepper
1 cup (60g) bread crumbs (more if needed)
1 tablespoon salt (shape and cook a small patty to taste for salt before adding the salt)
Vegetable oil for browning the meatballs


Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Cook a small amount and taste for salt.

Shape the meatballs with your hands using 3 to 5 ounces (85 to 142g), rounding well (they should be about 1½ inches (4cm) wide). Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet, making sure it is heated well before adding the meatballs. For even browning, there should be enough oil to come about halfway up the sides of the meatballs. (Some recipes recommend rolling the meatballs in bread crumbs before browning.) Fry until golden brown on all sides. Place browned meatballs on paper towels to drain before adding to the sauce. Cook thoroughly in sauce, about ½ hour.

As an alternative, the browned meatballs can be placed in a baking pan, covered with foil, and baked at 325°F (165°C) for about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, place on paper towels to drain for a few minutes, and then add to the heated sauce.