Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mama's Meatballs

Grandma Maria's dining room table, Christmas Eve 1984 (or thereabouts), platters of antipasti, which included a variety of meats, cheeses, olives and marinated artichokes. Then the salad course, followed by veal scallopini sometimes lasagna and then my favorite, the spaghetti and meatballs. Oh! They were the size of a small wrecking ball. Cracking into one was like opening a geode in the Colorado mountains. Instead of sparkling amethysts inside, I was hit with the aromas of Italian American dreams. Quite possibly one of my favorite childhood memories.

If you didn't catch my drift, I LOVE meatballs. I mean, they send me. And this is my best version Grandma Maria's yet. I have made them a thousand different ways, but this is the best. As most good Grandma-y recipes are, the meatball recipe was never written down. So this is my best shot at it. I think she would be proud.

Mama's Meatballs Recipe

prep time:20 min cook time:45 min serves:9

1 lb. ground pork
1 lb. gr. beef (85/15)
1 c. breadcrumbs
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
1 tbls. fresh basil, minced
1 tbls. fresh parsley, minced
2 tsp. fresh rosemary, minced
2 eggs
1/4 c. milk
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tbls. olive oil
3 24 oz. jars of your favorite marinara (I use Bertolli Organic Tomato Basil)

Combine all ingredients using your hands. It's truly the best way to incorporate all the flavors.
Roll out the meatballs into golf ball-sized portions. It makes approx. 28. I freeze half if I am cooking just for my family. I count 3 meatballs as one serving. When I use only half of the meatballs, I use only 2 jars of sauce.
Pour your marinara sauce into a pot and start warming it over medium heat.
Get a heavy saute pan nice and hot over med-high heat. Add your olive oil and start searing your meatballs. Set them in, leave them alone! Don't touch! The goal is to get carmelization on the outside of the meatballs so they are flavorful and juicy. Also, do not over-crowd your pan. This will cause the meatballs to steam and become dry.
Sear on each side then take the meatballs directly from the saute pan to the marinara sauce. They meatballs do not need to be cooked through. We are only searing them then cooking the rest of the way in the marinara. This makes for a very moist meatball.
A totally optional step is to pour the grease from your meatball pan into the sauce. If you are concerned about the fat, by all means, skip this part. I do it for the flavor. It's fantastic!
Put the lid on, slightly ajar and let them simmer for a good 30 minutes.
Boil your favorite pasta, I like angel hair, top with the meatballs and sauce, serve with Parmesan and fresh basil...need I tell you what to do next?


  1. I love the video, and the meatballs are the best that I have ever had.

  2. Lauren, your grandma would be proud! Great job on the blog too! :)
    I'm so glad God has brought our paths together.
    Blessings to you zzzzzzz!

  3. I hear ya sister! My Grandma Tina's meat-a-balls are as big as your head, and a force to be reckoned with - they have to be in my two favorites she makes.....and am psyched you posted these....they look stellar and I MUST try - i can practically taste the rosemary from here, nice touch! I think I'll use linguine! xoxo

  4. I love this meatball recipe! I am making lasagna and meat balls this weekend and this looks amazing!

    Patrick @appetiteforgood

  5. You're great in this video, don't get me wrong, I'm an old woman and I'm married, love your recipe, will try this weekend.


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