Easy Meatball Recipe with Tips- Great for Beginners
I have been making meatballs as long as I can remember. I started just mixing the ingredients for my mom. She hated getting that mess on her hands. To me, squishing around those ingredients was as close to playing with food as it gets. Eventually, I worked my way up to making them all by myself. For those of you that think this might be at all difficult, If a 12 year old can do it, so can you!
Over the years I have experimented with different ingredients and techniques, but always stay close to the basics I learned from my mom. I was always frustrated by two pieces of advice my mom gave me: The amount of an ingredient is always “some” and cooking time is always “until it’s done”. To my surprise that is some ot the best cooking advice I have ever recived.
This is my attempt to share my recipe for Italian meatballs that has received rave reviews on more than one occasion. For those of you not yet able to trust their senses to guide them, I will include quantities in the recipe. For those of you unfamiliar with the art of meatball making, I will try to point out those subtle things that cookbooks often leave out: the do’s and don’ts that can make a difference between a good meal and a great one.
1 lb ground beef (80% or 85% lean. Leaner beef makes for dry meatballs)
1/2 to 3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated cheese
1 egg lightly beaten
Add all ingredients into a large mixing bowl, bigger the better. You need some room to work. Mix by hand. Really get your fingers into it. Mix just until all ingredients are blended. Do not over mix.
Shape into roughly golf ball sized balls by scooping (or pinching) a small amout from the mix and very gently rolling it in your palms. Do not squeze. Moisten your hands slightly to keep the the mixture from sticking to them as much.
If you want to make a different size, think about 2 things: how long you have to let them cook and how large you want your serving size to be. Smallish and medium meatballs are perfect for pasta dishes. Tiny ones are great appetizers. Big meatballs work perfectly for subs and sandwiches.
Meatballs do not need to be perfectly round. Over handling will make for hard meatballs because you will over-pack the mix. Would you rather they look good or taste good? I find that guests are much more forgiving of an odd looking delicious meal than a great looking one that tasted lousy.
If you end up with an oversized ball, gently pinch off the amount to be removed and return it to the bowl. If it’s too small, take a bit more from the bowl and lightly add it to the ball by rolling it gently in your palms.
1) Drop into a pot of sauce and let cook for about 2 hours.This is my favorite method because it lets the flavor of the meatball into the sauce and the sauce into the meatball. DO NOT STIR IMMEDIATELY. You want to meatballs to cook a little and get firm before stiring. Otherwise you will smoosh them.
2) Bake at 325º in a shallow pan or on baking sheet until firm.
3) Frying Pan on medium heat. This is my least favorite method because I always end up browning them too much. You really need to keep the heat low and turn them frequently.
Don't be afraid to make extra. Cooked meatballs (no sauce) freeze very well.
Making your own sauce is easy!
- Basic Pasta Sauce (tomato)-Tips for Beginners
A basic pasta sauce using canned tomatoes. Great for beginners. Also includes cooking tips and variations on the recipe.