I would love to say this these aren’t your Nonnas meatballs, but that is exactly what these are! Delicious ground beef and ground pork come together (with a few other key Italian ingredients) to make the perfect and most comforting meatball recipe you have ever had!
I like to make these meatballs whenever I am missing home. I adore that homey feeling when there is a big pot of meatballs bubbling away on the stove all Sunday, with wafts of tomato and garlic and basil travelling though the home and warming your home and heart as it goes. I think that many people of Italian decent know what I’m talking about here… it’s all about family and tradition and COMFORT (perfect for the fall months)!
Now each family recipe for meatballs is unique. Some family recipes use a combination of beef and pork, some use all beef, and some use beef, pork and veal. Others add Parmesan or basil or parsley or chili flakes to their meatballs. Some add milk to the meatballs instead of eggs. You get the picture… there are lots of variations! But of course, I like to think that my family’s meatball recipe is the best… so I’m going to share it with all of my wonderful followers and let you all be the judges!
In my meatball recipe, I like to use a combination of lean ground beef and lean ground pork. Beef is very traditional for meatballs and the pork adds lots of juiciness and moisture. I also like to add breadcrumbs and milk to the meatballs too, again to add moisture and keep all the juices inside the meatballs. I mix them together in a bowl before adding them into the meat. For additional flavouring, I add some finely chopped garlic, basil and parsley, a pinch of chili flakes, a healthy amount of Parmesan cheese, and a bit of salt and pepper. I also like to add an egg yolk for extra richness in the meatballs (this may quite possibly be my secret to a great meatball).
I also like to fry my meatballs before I let them simmer away for hours on end in the tomato sauce. I like to incorporate this step because by browning the meatballs, you build a lot of rich flavour into the meatballs and into the bottom of the pot. Once you add the tomato sauce to the pot and give the bottom a scrape with a wooden spoon (because you have to make any tomato sauce with a wooden spoon!), all those tasty little browned bits get incorporated into the sauce! Perfect!
I also let the meatballs simmer on low heat for hours on end—like 3 to 4 hours. You don’t need to simmer your meatballs for that long, and in fact, you can get away with simmering them for an hour (which is what I wrote in the recipe). I just like all the flavours to merry and combine together, and I love the feeling of a big pot of meatballs simmering in sauce all day. So if you have the time, go for it! If not, the meatballs and sauce will still taste delicious!
Now these meatballs are so good that I can just eat them plain out of the pot with a little sprinkle of Parmesan and some freshly torn basil—perfect for an appetizer! But of course, you can go ahead and serve these meatballs on top of a mountain of spaghetti. I mean what can be more comforting than that?!
I hope that you give this recipe a try the next time you get a meatball or pasta craving! Let me know in the comments below what secret ingredients your family uses in your meatball recipe!
For the full recipe for my Traditional Italian Meatballs, click here!