Italian Meatballs

Who doesn’t love meatballs? They’re good with spaghetti, in a panini with some melted mozzarella, or in the middle of the night when you sneak one from the fridge…oh wait, is that just me? Anyway, meatballs are one of those quintessential Italian recipes and everyone has their own. This is my version of my grandparents’ recipe. I remember helping mix and roll them out when I was a kid. We’d dump them in the Sunday Gravy with the italian sausage once they were cooked and it would simmer on the stove all day until dinner. Yum!

Meatballs are great to get kids involved! They can help mix and then help roll them. I think the more you get them in the kitchen, the more they’ll appreciate the food they’re eating.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  •  2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 c breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tbl Fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp Herbs de Provence
  • 1 bunch parsley
Start by adding the milk and the breadcrumbs to a big bowl. This will help the breadcrumbs soak up the milk while you prep the rest of the ingredients. In the same bowl, add the egg and beat until incorporated. Grate the 1/4 onion and garlic cloves using a microplane if you have one (quite possible my favorite kitchen tool!).
Add a tablespoon of salt, 1/2 teaspon of pepper, the fennel seeds, herbs de provence and stir in. Chop the parsley and add in.
The goal here is to mix the flavorings, binder, and moisture and then add the meat – this avoids over-mixing and keeps the meatballs nice and tender. Add in your ground beef – time to breakout your best kitchen utensil – your hands! It also helps if you pull the meat out about 30 minutes before you make them so your hands don’t freeze when you mix!
Next, roll your meatballs! You can make them any size you want. I have a cookie/ice cream scoop that is the perfect size. Place them on a wire rack lined with parchment or foil.
Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until they’re cooked through. The wire rack does two things – it allows the hot air to circulate all the way around the meatballs and lets any extra fat drip off to the bottom of the pan.
I like to make these on Saturday morning and whip up a quick tomato sauce. Once they’re cooked add them in and let them simmer all until dinner time – yum! You can also let them cool completely and then freeze them in a freezer baggie. Next time you need a quick meal, just pull them out, defrost and heat, and eat!
Buon appetito!

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