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I adore your pics, Elise. Ian
Thanks so much Ian!
re: not browning the meatballs
I was never happy with the meatballs I made until a colleague shared her grandmother’s recipe–drop the meatballs right into the gently boiling sauce. Pure heaven! Wouldn’t make them any other way. I can’t wait to try this recipe with ricotta.
I wonder, if there is a good substitution for the sweet Italian sausage. I live in Germany and we do not get these kind of sausage here.
And one more thing….I love your page!
Rene, just use more ground pork and add the following spices which are used to season Italian sausage: ground or crushed fennel, garlic, salt and pepper. Super simple. Penney’s, is an American spice company. They sell Italian sausage seasoning. I use it to season meatballs .
I make my meatballs adding ground mortadella. It’s two pounds ground beef and 1/3 pound of ground mortadella. Then the usual breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, egg and garlic. I brown them in the oven at 400°F and then add them to my favorite marinara sauce. Hope you enjoy it.
Thanks for the suggestion! ~Elise
I made these for a weekly dinner with friends and served them as meatball sandwiches (in rolls with cheese melted on top). They were absolutely awesome. Thank you for recipe!
I use parchment paper to line the pan and the meatballs do not stick at all! Instead of Ricotta I use pureed firm tofuI also use greated onion…raw not cooked…must be grated or use food processor till its kind of soupy (no chunks)…adds a really deep flavor.
I made these meatballs about 2 weeks ago – YUM! The only change was that I used mild Italian sausage instead of sweet (my store didn’t have sweet!) but followed the rest of the recipe exactly. I opted for pancetta – it added just a hint of saltiness! The meatballs were delicious hot out of the pan, but the leftovers were even better – the flavors had blended perfectly! I would recommend this to any meatball lovers out there – with a little whole wheat angel hair, this recipe is an A+.
This is a delicious easy recipie that makes a lot of meatballs. My husband I have been eating for a week… plain, on a sandwhich, and with pasta. Great recipie!
I took this meatball for Mother’s Day brunch yesterday. Everyone loved it!
I gotta try the Spaghetti Meatball recipe of yours soon.
Thank you for the great recipe, Elise!
Anyone think of soaking the bread in the ricotta instead of using the milk? Why drain the ricotta – make use of it’s flavor instead.
Great idea. ~Elise
I made this on Saturday night. I had just purchased a meat grinder, so ground my own pork and prosciutto. The meatballs were just awesome – extremely flavorful and moist – I used the bread soaked in milk method that someone else suggested. I will definitely be making this one again. Like another reviewer, I thought there was not enough sauce, will take care of that tiny little problem the next time. Thank you for such great recipes!
I have some fresh oregano that I would like to use instead of dried oregano. How much do I use (or should I stick with the dried?). Thank you.
Great question. Usually you need at least twice as much fresh as dried, if you are substituting fresh herbs. ~Elise
Hi – made this for dinner the other night. Fantastic taste. Followed the recipe exactly. Only issue was the lack of sauce. In the picture there seems to be a lot of sauce for the meatballs. Mine just kind of had a slight coating of tomato. Was a 28oz can of crushed San Marzano. Besides that the taste was amazing the 6 of us loved it.
I made these last night, and they were BY FAR the most tender, flavorful meatballs I’ve ever had! I followed the recipe very closely, but my tragically limited local supermarket did not have prosciutto or pancetta, so i just skipped it. My meatball mixture came out a little too soft (probably a combination of no prosciutto, and very large eggs) so I added a little more ground pork and a sprinkle of panko bread crumbs, and it came out nicely. I made spaghetti to go with it, but it was really just an afterthought. My family just ate the meatballs in sauce with crusty bread and we were in heaven. We made provolone & meatball sandwiches the next day with the leftovers that were to DIE for! Also, i did splurge and buy the Muir Glenn crushed tomatoes and they were very good, worth the extra price.
Good morning Elise,
Did you serve these meatballs with pasta or straight up? I’m making this recipe tonight including the sauce.
Straight up, though you could serve with pasta. If you are looking for a spaghetti dish, you might try our spaghetti and meatballs. ~Elise
I have tried about 20 different meatball recipes and these are by the far the best ever. I added a bit of ground lamb as I like the taste.
Your meatball photo has been prodding me, haunting me so I made them last night. These are THE BEST meatballs I’ve ever made or eaten. Simply wonderful, and easy to make. I added another 2/3 can of crushed tomatoes w/ no harm done.
I’ve been using Lidia Bastianich’s meatball recipe from her Italian-American cookbook. I think the trick is loosely forming the meatballs and then getting them nice and brown from flouring/frying before they go in the sauce. There’s also a lot of flavor from the parmesan. The meatballs I’ve made have been so tender and full of flavor. My kids LOVE them! But what kid doesn’t like meatballs?! The recipe can be found online if you google it. But here are the basics… (I made the sauce too which is a nice simple compliment to the meatballs.) For the Meatballs:
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground beef
1 cup fine, dry bread crumbs
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Lidia is terrific, isn’t she? We love watching her on TV. ~Elise
I’ve got a slightly adapted batch of these in the oven right now. I made the mistake of trying to make low fat sausage (before Hank ran his post about making sausage, of course), with pork and veal; that debacle was, shall we say, like seasoned saw dust. Since I froze the remains of that attempt,I mixed in ground beef (not lean), and more or less follows the recipe, increasing the ingredients for the amount of meat I was using. I did substitute breadcrumbs, however, since all I had was whole grain bread, which didn’t sound particularly appealing. The test patty was outstanding, so hopefully the entire batch will make up for the sorry attempt at sausage.
Yep, the thing with sausage is having enough fat. The good news here is that the ricotta will add fat to the mixture too, helping the result to stay moist. ~Elise
I got this recipe from Gwenyth Paltrow’s site, Goop. I’ve made them for several occassions, oftentimes freezing half the batch to eat at home later. SO GOOD!!
JULIA’S TURKEY MEATBALLS
SERVES: 4 (makes about 2 dozen small meatballs)
TIME: an hour, plus at least 20 minutes of simmering
2 tablespoons olive oil plus 2 additional tablespoons
1 large yellow onion, very finely diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
coarse sea salt
freshly ground pepper
1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, pulsed in a food processor with their juice or crushed by hand
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
zest of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 pound ground turkey (preferably dark meat)
1 pound spaghetti, cooked just before serving
1/4 cup basil leaves, roughly torn
Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about eight minutes, sweating it without giving it too much color. When it’s soft, add the garlic and fennel seeds and season generously with salt and pepper (about a teaspoon of salt and a half teaspoon of pepper should do). Sauté for an additional three or four minutes. Remove and reserve half of this onion mixture in a large mixing bowl. Add the tomatoes and their juice to the remaining mixture in the pot, turn the heat to low and simmer while you make the meatballs. Be sure to put a little water in the tomato can, swish it around and add it to the pot (don’t waste a bit!).
To make the meatballs, combine the breadcrumbs, lemon zest, parsley, thyme and rosemary with the reserved onion mixture. Add the turkey and egg and mush it all with your hands (the best tool for this job) just until everything is well-combined, don’t over mix. Form the mixture into 1-1/2″ balls with your hands (of course you can make them whatever size you like). Heat the last two tablespoons of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Making sure not to overcrowd the pan, brown the meatballs (should take about five minutes). Put the browned meatballs into the simmering tomato sauce and let them cook, shaking the pot occasionally to roll the meatballs around, for at least 20 minutes and up to an hour and a half. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Serve with spaghetti and the torn basil.