My mother — my 100% Italian mother — would make mega meatballs for me when I was a kid. I didn’t call them that then, though. I didn’t think to call them anything becauese they were the only meatball I knew — they were big round, light, and airy…and because of their size, I only needed to eat two to be satisfied. When I got married, though, I was introduced to a new kind of meatball by my mother-in-law (my 50% Italian mother-in-law). Small, dense, and always at least a half dozen on on top of a swirl of spaghetti. For years and years the novelty of these trumped tradition. Until last week, when I revisited my mother’s mega meatballs, tweaking the recipe to be healthier (I replaced beef with turkey) and to be a little more inviting to kids (that would be the melting cheese on top). Though I had never served this to the family, it was one of those meals that I new wouldn’t need a marketing campaign behind it in order to convince the kids to try it. They loved.
Mega Meatballs with Melted Mozz (makes about 10 large meatballs)
2 pounds ground turkey (or beef)
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 slice white bread, torn in small pieces
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 large egg, whisked
1/4 cup flat parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (more for topping)
grind of fresh pepper
8-10 slices of fresh mozzarella
1 jar pasta sauce
Heat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the mozz and pasta sauce.
Shape the mixture into about large 10-12 meatballs, being careful not to pack too tightly.
Place them on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, heat jarred pasta sauce in a saucepan.
Add mozzarella slices on top of each meatball and broil for 2-3 minutes until cheese is melty and golden.
Serve two per person on top of pasta sauce and sprinkle with extra Parm if desired.