This easy and simple recipe produces a soft and tender meatball. One of the best Classic Italian Meatball Recipes. Serve them the Italian way as a Main Dish or topped on a big bowl of pasta. Perfect either way!
Meatballs are one of our favourite meals in my family. My daughters would love when I served them with a side dish of Peas. I would usually serve them the Italian way as a Main dish or second plate. and sometimes a simple pasta or risotto as a first plate.
How to make them
In a large bowl mix together the ground beef, egg, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, minced garlic, chopped parsley, salt and pepper.
Slowly add the milk until you have a soft compact mixture.
Form the mixture into small balls.
In a large pan add the olive oil, garlic, tomato puree/passata or a can of peeled tomatoes, salt, fresh basil, oregano and water. Mix to combine. Add the meatballs and gently mix to cover them in sauce.
Cover the pan and cook for about 20 minutes, uncover and continue to cook for about 15 minutes or until cooked through and the sauce has thickened. Serve as a main dish or over a bowl of your favourite al dente pasta. Don’t forget a sprinkle of Parmesan Cheese.
What is the best meat to use?
This recipe (and also the way my mother-in-law made them) is with one pound of 80% lean ground beef, if you prefer you can add half ground beef and half ground pork or even Italian sausage with the casing removed.
Ingredients for the Best Meatballs
- Be sure to use freshly grated Parmesan Cheese and not the cheese sold in plastic packages, cans or jars.
- Ground beef with 15-20 % fat. A little fat content helps the meatballs stay juicy.
- For the Tomato sauce be sure to use tomato puree/passata, just the tomatoes with nothing added.
- Use fresh parsley and fresh basil.
What does Meatball mean in Italian?
In Italian meatballs are called polpette and they are usually made from beef or sometimes an addition of ground pork, they contain ingredients such as garlic, eggs, parsley, bread or bread crumbs and usually Parmigiana. Polpette in Italian is also used as a term of endearment, used to express affection.
How to store them
The cooked meatballs can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three to four days. They can also be frozen cooked in a freezer safe container for up to three months. If you prefer you can even freeze them uncooked. Place on a cookie in the freezer until firm then transfer to a freezer safe container or bag. They will keep for three to four months.
More Meatball Recipes
- Double Cheese Meatballs 2 Ways
- Italian Eggplant Meatballs
- Little Meatballs with Parmesan Garlic Rice
So if you are looking for a delicious way to make meatballs then I hope you try this Classic Italian Meatball Recipe. Buon Appetito!
Classic Italian Meatballs
FOR THE MEATBALLS
- 1 pound ground beef (500 grams)
- 1 large egg
- 3 tablespoons bread crumbs
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ½-1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1-2 dashes black pepper
- ¼ cup milk (I used 2%) (60 grams)
FOR THE SAUCE
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-2 cloves garlic minced
- 1½ cups tomato puree/passata (338 grams)
- ¼-½ teaspoon salt
- 4-5 fresh basil leaves (chopped)
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ¼ cup water (60 grams)
FOR THE MEATBALLS
- In a large bowl mix together the ground beef, egg, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, minced garlic, chopped parsley, salt and pepper. Slowly add the milk until you have a soft compact mixture.Form the mixture into small balls.
FOR THE SAUCE
- In a large pan add the olive oil, garlic, tomato puree/passata, salt, fresh basil, oregano and water. Mix to combine.
- Add the meatballs and gently mix to cover them in sauce. Cover the pan and cook on low/medium (more low than medium) heat for approximately 15- 20 minutes, uncover and continue to cook for another 15-20 minutes or until cooked through and the sauce has thickened. If you find the sauce thickening too much then add a little more water.
- Serve immediately as a main dish or over your favourite al dente pasta. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese before serving. Enjoy!