You could carve out some time today to get to the store for the ingredients for these meatballs, make them for dinner, and still have a stash of them in your freezer. On a crazy, harried week night, you could pull out a few meatballs, drop them into some broth, add some noodles and have soup. Or, you could top them on a mini hamburger bun, add some sauce and create mini meatball sandwiches. Meatballs should be a staple freezer item. I have tried, in an effort to save some time, to buy a bag of pre-made frozen meatballs and keep them in the fridge. But their texture resembles sawdust.

The problem was,  I had already made this version by Mario Batali; and my fate was sealed. Batali’s addition of pine nuts makes the meatballs moist; the fresh Italian parsley makes the flavor intense. I’ve changed a few of the ingredients here — I substitute oatmeal for bread crumbs, because that’s what my Mom did when she made meatloaf. Purely, a sentimental reason for doing that — Mario probably wouldn’t like it; but it makes the recipe mine. Double, or triple, the recipe and keep them stocked in your freezer for harried week nights.

Meatball Recipe

  • 3 cups day old bread, cut into 1 inch cubes, or 3 cups of oatmeal
  • 1 1/4 lbs ground beef
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup grated pecorino cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, baked for 8 minutes in a 400 degree oven
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Tomato sauce for cooking

The Method

  • In a shallow bowl, soak the bread cubes in water.
  • Drain the bread cubes and squeeze with your fingers to press out the excess moisture (make sure you do this well).
  • Combine the bread cubes, beef, eggs, garlic, pecorino, parsley, toasted pine nuts, salt and pepper, and using your hands, mix the ingredients well.
  • With wet hands, form the mixture into 12-15 meatballs, each smaller than a tennis ball, but larger than a golf ball.
  • In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until almost smoking.
  • Add the meatballs and cook until deep golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the tomato sauce and reduce the heat to a simmer.
  • Cook all the meatballs for 30 minutes.

Eat them, and store the left overs in the freezer.

3 comments to “Meatballs”
  1. looks delish. When we make meatball sloppy subs, I add a mix of cream cheese and pesto stirred together until smooth, and then slathered on the top bun. When it hits the hot sauce it melts and adds something special to the sandwich.

    Might have to put this on my list to make this week.

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