These are the best homemade meatballs ever!
Meatballs are one of those things like dumplings that are made all over the world. Many countries have their own version, but to me, I favor the Italian style best. Let me tell ya what I look for…
- Tender with a good texture.
- Breadcrumbs to be at a minimum just to hold the shape.
- Large enough to use a fork and a knife.
- They have to be brown with a little bit of color on the outside.
- Cooked in a red sauce.
In Italy, they have a similar dish called polpette, which can be made of beef, pork, fish, potatoes, and cheese. It is a meatball, but different than what we think of in the United States. The Italian-Americans whom immigrated here in the early 20th century used meat grinders with less desirable cuts of meat, seasonings that were available here, and the American version of polpette was made.
In our recipe like so many others, the family recipe’s it has been passed down and tweaked throughout the years. Emery’s Aunt Denise shared her famous meatball recipe with him, and it soon became one of his favorites. Adding a little bit of himself to the recipe he made it his own.
Emery’s version uses milk mixed with breadcrumbs to add additional moisture since he likes using lean cuts of beef or turkey. Both of those meats can easily become dry when cooking since the fat content is so low.
In addition, we baked ours instead of frying them to keep them from becoming oily and to make them as healthy as a meatball could be before adding them to a rich Pomodoro sauce that was made with San Marzano tomatoes. San Marzano tomatoes are grown in Italy’s volcanic soils and only have two seed compartments inside, rather than most other species who have four or five. This gives the tomatoes a meaty texture with less moisture, which makes a richer sauce perfect for the best meatballs ever.
The Best Meatballs
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup of Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup of milk
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon of fennel seed, whole
- 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt
- Step 1 Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Step 2 Mix breadcrumbs and milk together in a small bowl and set aside.
- Step 3 In a large bowl mix the remaining ingredients together, and incorporate moistened breadcrumbs.
- Step 4 Roll the meat mixture into 2 ounce balls, and place them on a lightly greased sheet pan.
- Step 5 Cook for 10 – 12 minutes until lightly browned.
- Step 6 Transfer the undercooked meatballs to the Pomodoro sauce and simmer till meatballs are done. Approximately 30 minutes.
- Step 7 Enjoy.
- 1 28-ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes
- 1 1 ounce package of fresh basil
- 2 garlic cloves, large
- 2 medium shallots
- pinch of dried red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- Step 1 On medium-low heat, preheat a heavy bottom pan with olive oil.
- Step 2 Lightly brown garlic and shallots.
- Step 3 Add seasonings and cook in the vegetable mixture for approximately one minute.
- Step 4 Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer for 10 mins.
- Step 5 Carefully transfer to a blender, and puree the tomato mixture till smooth.
- Step 6 Return mixture to the pan and add whole leaf basil. Bring up to a simmer on low heat, and cover till meatballs are ready to be added.
- Step 7 Add meatballs and simmer for 30 minutes, or until done.
- Step 8 Serve with your favorite pasta, or just on their own. Enjoy.