Make It Easy: Classic Italian Meatballs

December 15, 2015

Easiest Classic Italian Meatballs recipe | One Hungry Mama

You know that saying truth is stranger than fiction? Well, I need a similar saying, but about things that aren’t necessarily strange. See, I’m all about making quick, healthy cooking easier for you guys. But, truth be told, even though I’m a busy working mom, too, making dinner isn’t always hard because, well, I develop recipes for a living. At least, that’s the way it used to be. These days, though, getting dinner on the table has been hard. So very hard.

For the last 9 months, I haven’t just been developing whatever recipes sound good, rather I’ve been creating ones that tell a cohesive story for my upcoming book (gah!), Make It Easy: 120 Mix-and-Match Recipes to Cook from Scratch—with Smart Store-Bought Shortcuts When You Need Them. In other words, dinner didn’t always fit neatly into my days, already in the kitchen on my feet for hours and also having to write, too.

Oh, yea, and I also have this job as Managing Food Editor for the awesome (and only!) food site just for parents, Cool Mom Eats, where I do way more writing and editing than I do cooking.

So I’ve been busy. Like too busy to post here often (though, you see, I’m coming back—hang in with me!) and, sometimes, too busy to make dinner the way I’d like. Pretty funny given that I’ve been working on a book to make cooking easier for people who don’t have time to cook. Right? Life imitating art. Or something. I don’t know—it’s hard to get idiomatic expressions right when you’re a child of immigrants.

Anyway, I digress. The point is that I, like you and all the (millions of) people who will buy my book, need meals that make it easy more desperately than ever. And, a lot of times, that means going back to basics like in this recipe for Classic Italian Meatballs.

If you’ve been reading for a while, my belief that meatballs (and tacos) are the most perfect family foods is no secret. This is especially true when you strip down the recipe to its flavor essentials and make it in one bowl. That’s what I’ve done here.

Of course, people will carry on about soaking breadcrumbs in milk, combining meat just so, being careful not to compact the meatball too much, and such like, but we are not cooking for a 4-star restaurant here. Yet, that’s not to say that these aren’t very delicious—because they are. They are as delicious as simple home cooking gets and, honestly, when I eat meatballs at home, that’s what I want.

You mix the ingredients in one bowl, you make 1-2″ rounds, and you cook them. Simple business. You make it easy and enjoy—because they’re delicious homemade meatballs and not take-out.

Quick note before we get to the recipe: The exact yield of this recipe will vary depending on how large you make the meatballs, and how large you make them will vary depending on how you want to use them. For example, I make big ones for spaghetti and meatballs and small ones for soups and stews this this Escarole, White Bean, and Meatball Soup. Either way, 2 lbs of meat will make a big ol’ batch with more than enough for a 4 person meal. Since meatballs are great for freezing, I’d just stick with the recipe as written and freeze whatever you don’t use to make dinner another night even easier. Or, if you prefer, cut this recipe in half.

Easiest Classic Italian Meatballs
(Can be shared with kids 6+ mos)*

1 lb ground pork**
1 lb ground beef**
2 eggs
4 cloves garlic, finely minced or grated (as with a microplane)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Olive oil or cooking spray, to cook

1. Combine all ingredients except for the olive oil in a large bowl and mix well using your hands or a wooden spoon. Roll mixture into 1-2″ balls.

2. Cook meatballs: I like to brown them in about 1 tablespoon of olive oil (or enough to cover the bottom of your frying pan), about 2 minutes on one side and another 2 minutes on the other, then finish them in a 350 degree oven or in a simmering soup or sauce until cooked through, exact time will vary depending on how large you make them.

*Note: Meatballs are a great first finger food for very beginner eaters who are already eating meat. Just be sure to puree, mash or break them up into an age appropriate text or bite size.

**Note: I find that a combination of beef and pork is best, but you can use one or the other.

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