HOW TO MAKE AUTHENTIC ITALIAN MEATBALLS

The following recipe uses the traditional mix of two meats, in this case pork and beef. The size of the meatballs depends completely on your own preference...

The first time when I tried to make some authentic Italian meatballs, I just thought it was about some meat and seasoning, with a round shape and cooked through. You know easy, something like making hamburgers...

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PLAYING?

Trying to come-up the first time, with my best meatballs, was something more like playing a game rather than cooking.   :-)

Though it's an easy recipe made in a simple, succulent tomato sauce. But...

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authentic italian meatballs

ATTENTION MAKING MEATBALLS

The problem could eventually arrive, when you try to form with your bare hands the round shape of the meatballs, that instead  turns out flat.

Worst the flop could even arrive in the frying pan, when they break and fall splitting in several chunks of meat.

Don't worry then, it just happened to me too   :-)

Polpette (pohl-PHE-teh) is the Italian word for meatballs, and they are well loved in South Italy. But if you're making them Italian-American style, maybe with spaghetti, then the size goes up big as a tennis ball.

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AUTHENTIC ITALIAN MEATBALLS RECIPE

Preparation Time: 20 mins
Cooking Time: 60 mins

INGREDIENTS: Yield 12/13 meatballs

  • 8 oz. 225g ground pork
  • 8 oz. 225g ground beef
  • 4 slices of sandwich bread
  • ½ cup, 118ml of milk
  • 1 tbsp, 15ml of oil for frying
  • 2 tbsp, 30g grated parmigiano cheese
  • 2 tbsp, 30g of parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 1 garlic clove
  • salt & pepper

INGREDIENTS: for tomato sauce

  • 1 bottle - 2 ½ cups, (560ml) tomatoes puree
  • ½ cup, (118ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • ⅓ of chopped onion
  • few basil leaves
  • pinch of salt
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INTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a bowl combine the bread and milk together. Add all the ingredients: beef, pork, egg, parmigiano, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper.
  2. Mix all together with your hands, or with a fork, until you have a smooth compound.
  3. To form the meatballs roll about 3 tbsp (45g) of meat mixture within the palms of your hands.
  4. In a frying pan over low heat, warm a small quantity of vegetable oil. Add one by one the meatballs and when the edge sizzles turn them around for several times until nicely browned on all sides.
  5. Pour the olive oil in a saucepan with the chopped onion. On low heat start frying until lightly brown. Add all the bottle of tomato puree. Remove the meatballs from the frying pan and plunge them into the tomato sauce. Cook for about 1 hour with a lid. Add a pinch of salt and stir occasionally. Add some water if the sauce dries too much.
  6. Once cooked through and ready, add a few basil leaves if you like.

NOTE

I like to fry the meatballs so that most of the grease from the meat will melt in the pan and be discarded.

GET THE STEP-BY-STEP TUTORIAL

Yes, maybe you have to be ready to lose at your very first attempt. But I just said: "Maybe".   ;-)

You may be a better cook than I am, and get your best Italian meatballs right away, and win, win, win.

What ever your cooking skills are, if I finally made my best meatballs surely you can too!

So lesson learned, I'm passing you my authentic, winning Italian meatballs recipe, from my trials and errors game.

Italian Meatballs

MEATBALLS INGREDIENTS

To make a good mixture and end-up with roughly 12/13 Italian meatballs you'll need:

  • 8 oz. (225g) ground pork
  • 8 oz. (225g) ground beef
  • 4 slices of sandwich bread or 3 oz. (85g) fresh breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup (118ml) of milk
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) of oil for frying
  • 2 tbsp (30g) grated parmigiano cheese
  • 2 tbsp (30g) of parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 1 garlic clove
  • salt & pepper

DIRECTIONS

In a bowl break the bread in small bits and soak them with milk.

USEFUL MEZZALUNA KNIFE

Remove the leaves of parsley from the stems and put them on a cutting board to be finely minced together with the garlic clove. I prefer my “mezzaluna” (half-moon) knife to do this task, because swinging up and down makes whole easy and safe.

IN THE SAME BOWL ADD ALL THE INGREDIENTS:

  • ground pork
  • ground beef
  • fresh breadcrumbs soaked
  • egg
  • grated parmigiano cheese
  • parsley
  • garlic
  • salt & pepper

TIME TO PUT YOUR HANDS IN...

I belong to those, who likes to work with their bare hands in the kitchen.

And if there's one recipe in which you have to throw your hands in, that is Italian meatballs.

Of course, you can still opt to mash all with a fork if you like. But even though, soon or late you still have to make the round shape with your hands.

You must end with something very similar to a smooth and compact compound just like one giant meatball.

ROLLING MEATBALLS

Taking about 3 tbsp (45g) of meat from the mixture, I start rolling within the palms of my hands until I get a good round shape.

12 / 13 MEATBALLS

I like to make medium meatballs so not too big, not too small. I make about 12/13 meatballs ready to be fried, even if they are Italian meatballs recipes that skip this step.

Pour in a large skillet, about ½ cup (118ml) of frying oil and arrange all the meatballs around.

Fry them until lightly brown, then turn off the heat and keep all aside. I like to slightly fry them, so much of the grease will be released in the pan.

Time now to make the succulent tomato sauce.

SUCCULENT TOMATO SAUCE

My family's most prefered bottled tomato puree for pasta is generally Mutti.

This succulent precooked tomato sauce goes well for these meatballs too.

TOMATO SAUCE FOR 12/13 MEATBALLS

  • 1 bottle - 2 ½ cups (560ml) tomatoes puree
  • ½ cup (118ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • ⅓ of chopped onion
  • few basil leaves
  • pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS

NOTE

I prefer to make them this way, so most of grease from the meat is discarded in the frying pan.

  1. Pour the olive oil in a saucepan with the chopped onion. Turn on a low heat and start frying the onion until lightly brown.
  2. In a saucepan add all the bottle of tomato puree.Remove the meatballs from the frying pan and plunge them into the tomato sauce.
  3. Now and then, give a stir to the tomato sauce, and cook well through for about 1 hour covered with the lid.
  4. Add a pinch of salt. If the tomato sauce dries out, you can add about an ½ cup (118ml) of water.

ALMOST READY

Yes, just add a few basil leaves in the sauce and serve.

Now you could even think about making spaghetti and meatballs if you like.

But remember though, there's no such spaghetti with big meatballs in Italy.

That's more of an Italian-American recipe became famous abraod.

Italians, just eat meatballs with tomato sauce (polpette al sugo) as a second course, and usually with a side dish and that's it.   :-)

tomato sauce