Homemade Ricotta
Your place for traditional Italian recipes
Italian Meatball Recipes
Meatballs are a comfort food and a part of true home cooking. They originated from the days when
there was little refrigeration, making it necessary to use up leftover meat trimmings. So for this reason, their ingredients can widely vary.  In Italy, meatballs are traditionally a second course apart from the pasta course.  It is not as common to serve a dish of spaghetti with meatballs there as in the US.
Classic Italian Meatballs


8 ounces beef ground chuck
8 ounces ground pork
1/2 cup Italian-flavored bread crumbs
2 eggs
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or pecorino romano cheese
2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
Traditional Tomato Sauce


Combine all the ingredients except the olive oil in a large bowl.  Mix together thoroughly.  Rinse your hands with cold water and shape the meatballs into
1 to 2-inch balls. (See note below)

Heat the oil in a large skillet.  Add the meatballs and brown them well on all sides.  Add the meatballs to a pot of simmering tomato sauce  Cook for 30-45 minutes until the meatballs are very tender.

When we are going to cook the meatballs in a sauce, we do not sauté them first.  Simply add the raw meatballs to a pot of simmering sauce.  There should be enough sauce in the pan to almost cover the meatballs.  Simmer gently for 30-45 minutes.  Stir occasionally, being careful not to break the meatballs.  Meatballs cooked this way are more moist and tender than the basic method.  Try the meatballs both ways and see which method you prefer.
Spaghetti with Classic Italian Meaballs
Spaghetti with Classic Italian Meaballs
Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs


1 pound ground beef
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup Italian-flavored bread crumbs
2 heaping tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 heaping tablespoon chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
4-6 ounces mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Olive oil for frying
4 cups Traditional Tomato Sauce or your favorite sauce

For serving:
1 pound cooked spaghetti
Grated Parmesan cheese


In a large bowl, combine beef,, egg, bread crumbs, Parmesan, parsley, and
seasonings.  Shape into 1-1/2 inch balls.  Seal a cheese cube in the center of each ball.  Sauté meatballs in oil about 1 minute on each side.  Transfer to paper-towel lined plate.

Bring tomato sauce to a simmer in a large saucepan.  Add the meatballs.
Cover and simmer on medium-low heat until cooked through, about 30 minutes.  Serve over pasta with grated Parmesan cheese.
Chicken Florentine Meatballs

(Serves 2-3)


2 cups chopped fresh spinach
8 ounces ground chicken
1 egg
1/3 cup Italian-flavored bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Large pinch garlic powder
Salt and pepper
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces whole wheat spaghetti
1 cup chicken broth
1 large garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons butter
Grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley to serve


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Put spinach in a skillet over medium heat.  Cook spinach until completely wilted, about 3 minutes.  Rinse spinach under cold water. Squeeze out as much water as possible.  Put spinach into a large bowl.  Add chicken, egg, bread crumbs, cheeses, and seasonings.  Mix well to distribute spinach throughout mixture.  Shape into 1-1/2 inch meatballs (about 12)
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Brown meatballs 2-3 minutes.
Transfer meatballs to a baking sheet but save the drippings in the skillet.
Bake meatballs 15 minutes, turning once during baking time.

Cook and drain spaghetti.

To make the sauce, deglaze the skillet with chicken broth.  Add garlic and butter, one tablespoon at a time.  Allow the sauce to reduce and slightly thicken.  Add cooked pasta and meatballs to the sauce.  Cook just to heat through.  Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with parsley.  Pass with Parmesan to serve.
Veal and Ricotta Meatballs

(Serves 4)


1 cup ricotta cheese
3/4 pound ground veal
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper
Flour for coating
Olive oil for frying
2 cups Traditional Tomato Sauce or your favorite sauce


Place ricotta in a fine-meshed strainer and drain for 1 hour.

In a bowl, combine the drained ricotta, veal, egg, Parmesan, and seasonings.
Shape into meatballs about 1-inch in diameter.  If the mixture seems too soft to shape, add more Parmesan cheese.  Gently roll meatballs in flour to coat lightly.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium -high heat,  Add the meatballs, without crowding, and sauté until golden brown.  Heat the tomato sauce in a saucepan.  Add the meatballs to the sauce and cook just for 1-2 minutes.
Classic Italian Meatballs
Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs
Chicken Florentine Meatballs
Veal and Ricotta Meatballs
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Damping your hands when forming meatballs, or handling a sticky, difficult to work with dough, makes the task faster and easier, and far less messy.
It's tempting to add just one more piece of meat to the skillet when browning, but don't do it, because the meat will never get the brown crust you want.  Instead, cook in batches, and don't rush the process. Dark caramelization yields complex flavor.  The same is true when roasting vegetables.  And for the most evenly baked cookies and cakes, give the pans some space, with two at the most in the oven at the same time.
OXO Good Grips Wooden Spoon Set
Wooden spoons are inexpensive, usually less than $10 each, and among the most used items in your kitchen.  They're sturdy enough to mix heavy dough, safe for nonstick cookware, and the right choice for stirring hot dishes because they don't conduct heat.  To keep your wooden spoons in top shape, wash them by hand and dry them before storing in a drawer.
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