Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Scratch.Love Meatballs

My Grandmother, Antoinette, made the best meatballs. Oh, how I loved them! Every year she would come on vacation with our family to the Jersey shore, and every year she would bring meatballs. They would be gone in a day or two around my family! My Grandmother has long since passed away and the meatball making has become my responsibility. I never got my grandmothers recipe (I doubt it really was a recipe, just a little of this and a little of that) but this is how I make them. You will notice that instead of pan frying these I am cooking them in the oven. I am not exactly clear about why, or when she started doing that- all I know is it is certainly cleaner and easier (and absolutely no difference in taste that I can perceive)! It gives me great pleasure to continue this tradition. Last year I made 15 lbs of meatballs for our yearly beach trip. Insanity! Of course our crew has grown from 7 back then to 12 now. Here is my recipe, I hope that you enjoy it and I hope that if my Grandmother was still here with us that she would approve. These meatballs are amazing just on their own but are also great on top of pasta, spaghetti squash or tucked into a meatball sandwich.

PS- I just got off the phone with my cousin who told me that my Grandmother used veal, pork and beef in hers and that she did not use onions. Interesting! Come to think of it, I do remember that she used all 3. I think at one time I did as well, but laziness and frugality must have led me to only using beef.

PSS- Memory is such an interesting thing. I just spoke to my Uncle who thinks (but is not sure) that Grandmom did use onions. I also spoke to my Aunt who said my grandmother puts the veggies into the blender so that there are no chunks in the meatballs. She is calling me back with more details later.

Continue reading after the jump...  

Scratch.Love Meatballs

  • 2 Lbs Ground Beef (mine actually added up to about 2.19)
  • 1 Cup Breadcrumbs (I used leftover Spelt Rolls)
  • 1 Cup Parmesan or Romano Cheese
  • 1 Cup Fresh Parsley
  • 1 Cup of Finely Diced Onion
  • 4 Eggs (beaten)
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • Marinara Sauce for Simmering


Finely chop the fresh parsley.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs together with a fork. Season with salt and pepper per your taste. Add the parsley.

Finely dice the onions and add to the mix.


Next add the breadcrumbs and cheese to the mixture.

Stir it up with the fork. Add your meat.

Mix until the meat is well combined into the mixture.

Determine what size you would like for your meatballs. Form into a ball. I have small hands so these look pretty big, but they really are not!

Place into an oven safe pan. I am using my all clad lasagna pan which I lined with parchment for easy clean up.

Repeat. Try to make sure the meatballs are relatively even in size. If you are no good at eyeballing it, try using a measuring cup to make sure you have the same amount of meat each time.

Put these beautiful meatballs into the oven at 375 for an hour. If you wish, you could pan fry them as well. Below picture is one hour later. See, they even brown in the oven. Pretty neat.

This next step is key. Take the meatballs out of the oven and add to a pot (you could use your crock pot if you wish) and cover with sauce.

Bring to a simmer, then reduce to the lowest setting. You will want these to cook a few hours in the sauce. You do not want to skip this part! I would say at the very least you will want to do 2 hours. I usually do 4-6. Picture below is after 4 hours.

All done! Enjoy.

A little cheese?

 Platter them up.

Or serve with homemade pasta.

For a very similar take on these meatballs, here is one of my (2nd?) cousins at her KnitOne, PearlOnion Blog.

I submitted this recipe to Real Food Wednesday, check it out for other great recipes from real food bloggers.

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  1. Isn't family wonderful, dear cousin?! These look sooooo good!

  2. Sooo crazy excited about finally getting to try these!! My gosh they look amazing...never seen meatballs look like yours!

  3. Well, now you have the marinara sauce for them! Cant wait to see what MC does with it.

  4. I love the he-said, she-said family lore! Regardless of the original recipe, it sounds like you have found a winner. I will give it a try this weekend!

  5. Hi Whitney! Let me know how you like them if you decide to make them.

  6. I didn't have everything on hand to follow your recipe verbatim, but I came close, subbing a hard farm cheese for the parm and spinach for parsley. The key was in the process, I think--browning the meatballs in the oven, then simmering all afternoon. They were divine! Thank you, and your Grandmom!

  7. Whitney- Thank you so much for remembering to come back and report! I really and truly appreciate that. I am so glad that you enjoyed them, it makes so very happy. And the variation you made sounds delicious! I have made them with spinach before and love it! Another yummy variation is to use feta, although I have to use sparingly otherwise it melts everywhere.


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