There’s an Italian restaurant that we used to go to frequently when we lived in north Orange County, and I ordered the same thing every single time. I strayed once or twice, but I usually stuck with my tried and true spaghetti and meatballs with a side of ricotta. So simple, so incredibly delicious. I’m usually very adventurous when dining out, and even when we find favorite spots I’ll try many different menu items. The spaghetti and meatballs from this one place in particular is just so satisfying that I can’t pass it up.
Since we no longer live close by, I’ve been experimenting with my own spaghetti and meatballs recipes. I’ll share my new favorite pasta sauce in a few days, but for today: juicy meatballs! I won’t say these are perfect, or my favorite, but they’re getting there. These meatballs stay soft and juicy instead of ending up dense and chewy. Simmer them in your favorite tomato sauce then serve on top of spaghetti with freshly grated parmesan cheese on top! A side of ricotta cheese will take this over the top. The next day, when you have leftover meatballs… make yourself a meatball sandwich on French or sourdough bread with provolone cheese. Place it, open face, in the oven to get it melty and toasty. Mmmmmm.
I have made several batches of meatballs and tomato sauce to find one my family would love, and these fit the bill. Each time I have made these, Abby, the picky eater, has eaten 4 meatballs! Plus the rest of the dinner on her plate (because she has to). I froze a batch of the meatballs separately from the sauce before we moved. The other day, I defrosted them by simmering together on the stove for about an hour and I think I may have liked them even more than when they were fresh! I’ll just have to make a new batch soon to test it again.
- 28 grams fresh (not stale) bread
- 1 white or yellow onion
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 30 grams grated parmesan cheese
- 907 grams ground meat (I like to use all beef or 2/3 beef + 1/3 pork)
- Tear the bread into small pieces and place in a mixing bowl.
- Peel the onion, slice in half, and use the large holes of a box grater to grate the onion into the mixing bowl. Add the egg yolks and mix together with the bread and grated onions. Allow this mixture to sit until the bread is soaked through, about 5 minutes.
- Add the spices and salt to the onion mixture and stir to combine. Add a small handful of the meat to the onions and spices and use your hands to mix together well.
- Add the rest of the meat, and use your hands to gently mix together until just combined with the spices and onion.
- Use your hands to shape into balls, about 2 inches in diameter, and place on a baking sheet.
- Allow the meatballs to rest for about 10 minutes while the oven preheats. Heat the oven to 400F.
- Bake the meatballs until a meat thermometer reaches 155F (this is not the "done" temperature, but the meatballs will continue cooking in the pasta sauce).
- Transfer the meatballs directly from the oven to a pot of pasta sauce and simmer on the stove until them meatballs are cooked through, 15-20 minutes.