- Servings: Makes about 36 1 1/2-inch meatballs.
This recipe makes small meatballs that can be either served as a main course or simmered in your favorite tomato sauce and paired with pasta or used in a hearty sandwich.
Resist trying to make the meatballs too large because when you sauté them, the outer layer cooks faster than the interior and so if the meatballs are too big, they'll cook unevenly. Instead make them about the size of a walnut -- or smaller -- so that the meat is thoroughly cooked but still tender.
I like a combination of beef, veal and pork. The beef provides body and flavor, the veal keeps the meatballs light, and the pork adds just enough fat so that the meatballs aren't dry.
- 2 cups day-old or otherwise stale white crustless bread, cut into1-inch cubes
- 3/4 pound ground beef (ground chuck or other beef at least 80% lean, not leaner)
- 1/2 pound ground veal
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten to combine
- 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
- 1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese
- 1/4 cup minced flat leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil (approximately) -- enough to add 1/8-inch of oil to a 10 to 12-inch skillet
- Place the cubes of stale bread in a bowl and sprinkle with a few tablespoons of water. Let soak until the water is all or mostly absorbed. Squeeze the excess water from the bread using your clean hands and break the bread into pieces.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the soaked and squeezed bread with the ground meats, beaten eggs, garlic, Pecorino, parsley, salt and pepper. Again using your clean hands, mix everything together so that everything is blended.
- Roll the mixture into 30 to 36 small meatballs, using a couple of tablespoons of the meat mixture for each meatball.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a 10 to 12-inch skillet until hot. Add the meatballs to the pan in a single layer, taking care to not crowd them too much, and cook on all sides, turning each meatball every couple of minutes so that it cooks completely and develops a nice brown crust. This takes about 10 minutes. Depending on the size of your skillet and the size of your meatballs, you may have to cook the meatballs in batches.
- If you plan to serve with tomato sauce, add the cooked meatballs to your favorite sauce and simmer for about 15 minutes more.