I feel like I might forever be on a quest to master making meatballs, the perfect family food fit for everyone from finger food eaters all the way to grown ups. It’s not so much that my meatballs are in desperate need of improvement. To the contrary, they are always quite good. It’s more that I’m constantly refining my idea of what the perfect meatball should be.
These delicious beef and pork meatballs are my most recent attempt and an expression of my latest philosophy about meatballs: less is more. These are stripped down to just a few essential ingredients: meat, parmesan, garlic, breadcrumbs, eggs, salt and pepper.
I’ve always added onions to my meatballs. Good, but not necessary.
I’ve added parsley, too. Definitely a way to go, but not necessary.
I’ve used milk soaked bread many times. Delicious, for sure, but not necessary.
I’ve even been known to throw in a little lemon zest. A good idea, but not necssary.
There are many ways to make delicious meatballs but, if you’re using high quality (ideally local, sustainable) meat, just a few enhancing ingredients go a long way and—bonus!—keep things quick and easy. These meatballs are proof: less really is more.
This recipe makes a big ol’ batch of 1″ meatballs. They freeze well: Cook through and store in an airtight container. They are great with spaghetti and red sauce, done parmigiana (with red sauce and melted mozzarella on top) or even in soup. I served these in a White Bean, Escarole and Meatball Soup, making my soup a main entree with nothing more than a loaf of toasty bread and slices of cheese.
Easiest Classic Meatballs
perfect for White Bean, Escarole and Meatball Soup
1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground beef
4 cloves garlic, finely minced or grated (as with a microplane)
1/2 c grated parmesan
1/4 c bread crumbs
1/2 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
olive oil or cooking spray, to cook
1. Combine all ingredients well in a large bowl. Roll mixture into approximately 1″ balls.
2. Cook meatballs: I like to brown them in in 1 Tbsp of olive oil (you may need more if using super lean meat) then finish in a 350 degree oven or in simmering soup or sauce.