I’m declaring WAR on dry hard meatballs! These are the meatballs my husband declared the “Best meatballs ever!” Pretty bold words from a New Jersey Italian boy, and he’s right!
In a previous post, we made an amazing Pantry Shelf Marinara sauce! Well, there’s nothing The Boy likes more with his beloved red sauce than meatballs! Unfortunately for me, I’ve had a hard time making meatballs that don’t taste like someone peeled a golf ball and covered it with sauce. Well, I’m done! I’m declaring war on all the dry, hard meatballs of the world! I’m throwing down the gauntlet, whatever a gauntlet is.
The thing is, I’ve tried quite a few meatball recipes over the years, hoping to satisfy The Boy’s (and my own) craving for a good meatball, but I’ve never been able to create the soft, pillowy meatballs I was looking for. So after much meaty tinkering, I finally found the secret. So, what’s this “secret”? Stop complicating things. That’s it. Just a few fresh ingredients, treated with care, gives up a delightful, juicy, tender meatball.
Let’s get started!
Best Italian Meatballs Ever!
- 1/2 cup white bread (I’m really partial to Wonder Bread. Thanks, Mom ) torn into pieces or same amount of panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup milk or half and half
- 1 large egg, whisked
- 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 lb ground beef or a mixture of beef, pork, and/or veal. Use whatever meat you prefer/can find/are comfortable using for dietary or other reasons. It’s all good 🙃
- 1/2 cup very finely chopped onion (or grated on a coarse grater)
- 1 clove minced garlic
- Get ahead of the game and do your mise en place. That just means getting all your ingredients measured and cut up and "in place" so you can get right down to the business of making meatballs. Preheat your oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper and spritz with non-stick spray.
- Place the torn bread in a large bowl and cover with the milk. Let it sit for about 5 minutes. It will get mushy. This is a good thing!
- Add all your other ingredients to the bowl with the soaked bread and gently mix together with a wooden spoon or extra gently with your hands. You don’t want to overwork the mixture or squeeze the meat because that will result in tough meatballs. That is a bad thing. The peeled golf ball bad thing. I actually use 2 rice scoops when mixing together ingredients. It allows me to mix everything together without the risk of overworking. You might see bits of bread in the meat after you mix it all together. That’s ok. They’ll melt in when you bake them.
- Shape the mixture into roughly golf ball sized balls. You can use a small cookie scoop if it helps, but I just grab a bit and roll. Wetting your hands a little or spritzing them with non-stick spray can help avoid meaty hand syndrome. Place on your baking sheet with a little space in between each ball so they all get even exposure to the heat and get the little crispy side bits we all know and love! You should get about 24-28 meatballs.
- Bake in 400° oven for 25-30 minutes, turning over once. Remove from the oven. Sneak one and taste it for quality control. No one will notice one missing meatball.
- Add the meatballs to your favorite sauce or use the delicious marinara sauce we made in a previous post. Let the sauce and meatballs simmer for about 20 minutes to allow them to become really good friends. They're in love. Mangia!!