Homemade Meatballs in a Cast Iron Skillet
Homemade Meatballs in a Cast Iron Skillet (iStock)

Sunday has always been meatballs and gravy (also known as sauce) day at our house. My mother and my grandmother before her would wake at the crack of dawn to start the meatball making process, which ended mid-afternoon with the entire family enjoying an Italian feast.

In my mind there is nothing quite like the smell that permeated the house at 8am on Sundays when I was growing up. I swear the tradition of homemade Italian meatballs is the reason I never order meatballs when dining out. Biting into a meatball that has simmered in red sauce for hours is something I will never tire of.

Whether they call it gravy or sauce, most Italian Americans can share a similar story of eating meatballs on Sunday. And at one point in their lives they probably asked themselves: “Why do we limit meatballs to just one day a week?” I wish I had an answer.

Best Meat for Meatballs

Theresa Greco

(Theresa Greco)

Although there are tons of delicious recipes out there for meatballs, like Giada and Bobby’s Mortadella Meatballs, but my favorite will always be my grandma’s made with equal parts veal, beef and pork; a combination that guarantees lots of flavor. Veal for the rich taste, ground beef and pork for the added fat to keep the balls moist.

How to Make Italian Meatballs

Theresa Greco

(Theresa Greco)

Making meatballs is easy, and you really can’t go wrong, so be creative. Experiment with the types of meat you use, add more or less herbs, use sliced bread instead of bread crumbs. It is really up to you.

  1. Stir all ingredients together being careful to not over mix. I prefer to mix up my meatballs in my Kitchen Aid stand mixer.
  2. Shape into golf ball-sized balls. Any smaller and they will be dry.
  3. Fry in oil. I prefer olive oil for frying my meatballs.

The Key to Super Moist Meatballs

Most meatball recipes call for using bread crumbs as a filler. If you want super moist meatballs I suggest using crust-less white sandwich bread soaked in milk. How much white bread, depends on how moist you want them. A good rule of thumb is a slice or two per 3 lbs of meat. This may sound odd, but trust me: it will give your meatballs a whole new dimension.

What to Drink With Italian Meatballs

As for what to drink with meatballs: a nice Chianti Classico, like the Tenuta di Nozzole Chianti Classico featuring a soft fruit with hints of spice. Italian reds bring out the best in meatballs and tomato sauces.

Other Meatball Recipes You Might Enjoy:

Italian Meatballs

Ingredients

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until evenly blended.

  2. Shape the mixture into golf ball size balls.

  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet until sizzling.

  4. Gently drop meatballs into the oil and fry. Don’t crowd the meatballs in the pan.

  5. Flip meatballs to evenly brown on all sides.

  6. Remove the meatballs onto a paper-towel to absorb some of the oil.

  7. Repeat with remaining meatballs.

Theresa Greco is the author of the food blog The Food Hunter’s Guide to Cuisine, where she shares her passion for living a healthy lifestyle while eating delicious foods.