Italian Meatballs

Tomorrow at work we are having an “Italian Potluck” for lunch and I signed up to bring Italian meatballs in a red sauce (for sandwiches).  However, I’ve never made meatballs before, so I decided to first make them for dinner tonight to see how they would turn out before I made a huge batch of them for the office. Also, the pictures show way more ingredients and meat than you will probably need.  I bought about 10lbs of meat and made just over 60 meatballs.  So, unless your cooking for a large group of people, you’ll probably want to scale this back accordingly.  As usual, I won’t give you exact measurements because that’s not what this blog is about.  But I’ll give you some good tips and try my best to point you in the right direction.

Below is a picture of everything that I bought at the store.  I also used some vegetable oil and olive oil which isn’t pictured.

First, I combined the Italian sausage and ground beef in a big mixing bowl.  I used spicy Italian sausage and some pretty unhealthy meat – 73/27. I thought it might stick together better with a fatter meat and it seemed to work really well.  Pictured below is 3lbs of beef and 2lbs of sausage.  This amount of meat made 32 meatballs.  Note: you could make the 32 meatballs, use what you need for your meal or dish, and then freeze the left over meatballs for later.  They should reheat pretty well – or so I’ve heard.

Next, I added the entire box of Italian seasoned panko (bread crumbs) and almost an entire block of hand grated parmesan cheese.

Next, I mixed all of this together by hand and began forming meatballs.  It was pretty messy.  They can be as big (or as small) as you want.  I just picked a size that I thought would be good for sandwiches.  Also, before I finished forming all of the meatballs, I heated up some vegetable oil in a pan on the stovetop (on high) so that it could heat while I was working.  (The pan of vegetable oil is for the meatballs in the next step). I also set the oven temperature to 375 degrees.

Next, I began browning the outside of the meatballs on the stovetop in the pan.  I used two spoons to turn them around and brown all the sides.  (click on a picture for a larger image)

im6 im7

Then I put the meatballs in the oven in 9×13 pans (pictured above) for about 10 minutes in order to fully cook the center.  I suppose each oven could be a little different, so I would recommend cutting one or two meatballs completely in half to inspect the inside or you could use a meat thermometer to make sure the internal temperature is at least 165 degrees.

While the meatballs were in the oven, I finely chopped up some garlic and I cooked it on medium heat on the stove top.  Just before it started to brown (which will make it crispy), I removed the garlic from the heat and added it to my red sauce.  I started heating the red sauce while the garlic was cooking.  Of course, you can “doctor” your sauce to taste.

Finally, when everything was done, I put the meatballs on some bread and topped with red sauce and freshly grated parmesan cheese.  The outside had a light brownish char while the inside was juicy and cheesy.

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7 Comments on “Italian Meatballs”

  1. January 25, 2013 at 5:24 am #

    We’ve been in meatball mode as well! These look fab…a triumph! Especially for a first outing…what next?

    • January 25, 2013 at 8:16 pm #

      Thanks! I’m not sure what is next but I will probably cook something tomorrow. I was considering a beer can chicken maybe… With asparagus.

      • January 26, 2013 at 9:34 am #

        I am curious to see where you go with meatballs…the possibilities are endless…ce…

  2. January 25, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

    These look delish, Italian sausage, ground beef and ground turkey! Where do you live, and what time is dinner???

  3. January 26, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

    I like the look of these. I would have called in sick the next day and scoffed the lot!

    • January 27, 2013 at 11:18 am #

      we’ve been eating them the last few days. cant get enough 🙂 but tonight I think im going to do a spicy tortilla soup

  4. January 27, 2013 at 11:10 am #

    I’m going to use the addition parmesan to my meatballs next time, love that idea..

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