What I love about this Italian Meatballs recipe is that it is simple and wonderful! I’ve tried many meatball recipes and this one is my favorite. Skip all the complex spices and just go with ground beef, day-old Italian bread and pecorino cheese. I learned this recipe from my cousin Rose who lives in Aragona, Sicily. She made them for lunch and we were wowed! They were tender, flavorful, and luscious. Rose graciously shared her recipe. The addition of baking soda is a key to making them light and tender. I prefer to fry meatballs in a skillet on the stove to get a better crust versus baking in the oven.
The meatball are simmered in Marinara Sauce and used as a meat side with your Sunday Pasta Dinner, or in a meatball sandwich! Sprinkle some grated mozzarella or provolone cheese on top of the meatballs and stick under the broiler for a few minutes. While you are frying up meatballs, might as well fry up some Italian Sausage links too. Simmer them in the sauce or serve them with green peppers for another wonderful Italian sandwich. For larger parties, meatballs and sausage work well for a Italian Sandwich Bar. Keep the meatballs and sausage simmering in the sauce in a crock pot, and let folks make their own sandwiches. Serve cheese, hot and sweet peppers on the side. Go for crusty Italian bread. Lightly toasting the bun is a must!
Homemade Italian Meatballs
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 6 cups 1/2 loaf day-old, dry, crusty Italian bread, cubed or torn into small pieces.
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 1 1/2 cups grated pecorino cheese
- olive oil enough for frying
In large bowl, whisk milk, eggs, salt and pepper. Add dry bread, mix until well coated and let soak for 10 minutes. Add more milk if needed. Crumble the ground meat into the mixture and mush together with your hands until the meat and bread become a sticky paste-like texture. Mix in the baking soda and cheese. Cover with saran wrap and let sit for an hour in the fridge. (This is a good time to make the marinara).
Roll the meat into palm size meatballs. Fry in batches over medium high heat in olive oil on all sides to a caramelized crust. Gently place the meatball in the marinara sauce and simmer for 2 hours or more.
Optional: Fry 1 lb (6 links) of Italian Sausage links in the same pan, and simmer in sauce for extra flavor.