Here’s that meatball recipe.

These are the meatballs that Tracy‘s vegetarian boyfriend ate, like, four of. They’re that good, they convert the herbivores. She asked me for the recipe – “they’re like my nonna’s!” she exclaimed – but I explained that there wasn’t one, you just use a little of this and a bit of that, you know?

And then Nick’s sister asked for the recipe, and Sooin did too, and they wanted to know if it was on this site, and I said no, it wasn’t, because it’s the kind of thing you just make. You need a recipe for these? I asked, and people nodded yes. I thought they were everyone’s meatballs. Apparently they are my meatballs, and they are delicious.

I’m a little bit biased though. I mentioned a little while ago that if you were bent on seducing me (and you hadn’t already fed me too much wine, which is my favourite), meatballs would get you most of the way there. I don’t know what it is about them; meatballs, in all their forms, make me sublimely happy. There are probably hundreds of ball jokes to be pulled from that statement, but I stand by it.

So anyway, some friends came for dinner tonight, and I decided that we would have spaghetti and meatballs, because it is one of my favourite things and I like to share it, and I wanted to write the recipe down at last. Really, I’m pretty sure that they’re everyone’s meatballs. There’s no secret to them. But in case they are special, or different, or if you’re looking to score, here’s the recipe.

The meatballs

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef (not extra-lean – please, not extra-lean)
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. (rounded) fat (butter or bacon fat, or olive oil if you want)
  • 1 tbsp. (rounded) tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Preheat your oven to 375°F.

Combine all of your ingredients in a large bowl. Squish it all together with your hands to ensure that crumbs and eggs are thoroughly combined. Don’t worry if the meat looks like it isn’t – it’s better to have the meat sort of separate, so that you can taste pork and beef distinctly. And you must use your hands. There is no other way.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Roll meat mixture into balls roughly an inch and a half in diameter. This recipe makes about two dozen – if you have many more, your balls are too small. (Snicker.) And the reverse is true too. Place balls on baking sheet.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

And here’s where it gets interesting.

If you’re just feeding you and another person, or maybe two smaller, miniature persons, then use a dozen, or fewer, and freeze the rest.

If you’re insane and for some reason always end up feeding tons of people even though you’re poor and hardly anyone ever invites you to their homes for dinner even though you’re very nice and don’t always guzzle the wine or step on the cat, cook them all, but double your sauce recipe and use the two-pound bag of spaghetti.

Because these are deceptively large, I would bet that no one will be able to eat more than three. Four is pushing it.

For sauce, there are lots of options. A sauce I am loving right now is tomato sauce with onion and butter from Deb at Smitten Kitchen. In the summer, I use my special slow-cooked tomato sauce, and it’s very nice then too. Tonight, I made a simple sauce of one onion and three cloves of garlic sweated in olive oil, two 28-ounce cans of crushed tomatoes, simmered for forty minutes, then salt, pepper, and basil stirred in right at the end. Keep it simple with the sauce – these are hearty meatballs, and they will be the star of the dish. Stew the meatballs in the sauce for about twenty minutes before serving; they’ll cut the acidity of the tomatoes, and they’ll warm up nicely all on their own.

There it is. See how easy? So easy. Really inexpensive. No reason not to make them for me. I’ll bring dessert. And wine. And soft slippers, because of the cat.

6 thoughts on “Here’s that meatball recipe.

  1. Yum. Those look a lot like my mom’s — although she stopped making them decades ago in favor of a really meaty meat sauce. I will make some of these very soon.

    Do you have them garnished with chiffonade of basil … and ham? (Well, nice fawncy Italian prosciutto of course?) Is that what I see?

    Hey, isn’t that tomato sauce with onion and butter amazing? It’s all we eat anymore, if given a choice. So. Good.


  2. On one plate, there is basil and prosciutto, and on the other, it’s basil, a bit lemon zest, and ricotta.

    You should make them! And that sauce is amazing. It’s one of the many reasons I love the Internet – who’d have thought of that?!


  3. THANK YOU!!! They are officially “your” famous meatballs! Glad to have them in print:) And you know you are always welcome for dinner-I’m sorry I don’t do it more-I’m intimidated by your awesome powers of cooking-but I love cooking for you two-just invite yourself over by saying…”So what are you doing this Saturday? We’d love to come over!” and we’d love to have you!


    1. Haha, not you, silly – you feed us all the time! Hope you like the recipe – if you tweak it, let me know! I’d love to see it evolve.


  4. I made these tonight for my brother and hubby, since we do a Monday sammich dinner and tonight I wanted meatloaf sammiches. My brother cancelled so I have SOOOO many… and my evil little heart says “good! Leftovers for us!” (Also, “Gollum! Gollum! The precioussss!” But never mind that.)

    I screwed up the recipe, having no bread crumbs as previously believed so using cracker crumbs and omitting the oil because crackers are greasy and I FORGOT the CHEESE, but they still turned out sooooo delicious. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

    I can’t even scold you for not telling me how huge this recipe is, because you did and I disregarded it and now I am awash in meatballs but it’s okay because they’re grub indeed.


    1. I’m so glad you liked them, even with the modifications! Oh, yeah – the recipe totally makes more than you need. Stuff them into a freezer bag or a container and freeze them – that way, you can enjoy them again and again …


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