Coming from an Italian family (my maiden name being Corcione), I have witnessed several of my family members create their own recipes to make meatballs with their “Sunday Sauce”.
Yes, recipes. Because depending on the home I was eating at, whether it be my Pop-Pop & Grandma Gloria, my Aunt Annie & Uncle Mike, my cousins Fran & Rusty, my mom Michele, my Uncle Mark, etc.–the recipe would be different every time (and the results absolutely delicious!) I feel meatballs are a craft that one develops their own way, their own flair to it. Like snowflakes, no two methods are exactly alike.
Maybe one likes more egg, maybe it depends on the type of meat used, maybe parmesan is introduced, maybe a particular type of bread crumbs (or substitute if you’re gluten-free), maybe the seasonings vary, and depending on the region, even pignoli nuts or even possibly raisins. (Yes, raisins, this was a recipe I was raised on….it’s actually pretty damn good if you know how to incorporate them. And if you don’t believe me, Google it and see just how many recipes exist with this combination.) And just like my family, over time, I created my own meatball recipe based on the cooking knowledge that my family imparted through years of meals.
Matt, who spent several years in Italian catering, swears by these meatballs….which means a lot to me. Initially, when the both of us started to make macaroni & gravy (yes, gravy….and if you need reminding, I do have a post dedicated to this as well), this recipe was still in the works. We had tried ground beef so many times, trying to add the right ratio of eggs to bread crumbs & seasonings & parmesan, and then one night while making the gravy, I decided to try meatloaf mix….with a surprising result!
You will notice that I treat meatballs in a similar fashion to my meatloaf recipe, because I know that those ingredients flavor the meat in exactly the way I want. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to measure out this recipe as I consider making mixtures using chop meat a more “by feel” process, but just know that you want to have your mixture slightly sticky, but doesn’t stick to your fingers. That meatball mixture has to be moist enough to roll into balls and retain their structure.
Being able to keep with family traditions are important (especially if you have them). But even with traditions, making your own with your spouse, family, friends, etc.–that’s truly what life is about. I can’t wait until Matt and I have our own family and we can share recipes just like this one with them. And maybe, just maybe, they learn how to make their own traditions with their families.
Jenn’s “That’s a Tasty” Meatball Recipe
2-3 pounds meatloaf mix
1 packet Onion Soup mix
2 eggs (you can add 3, but just be mindful of the moisture, as you want these meatballs to retain structure while cooking)
Bread Crumbs (this is difficult to measure out, I’d say start with 1/4 cup and add as needed)
Italian Seasoning (if you use plain bread crumbs, add 2 tablespoons of this to the mix)
Worcestershire Sauce (again, something I don’t normally measure, but I’d say give that bottle about 8-10 shakes into the bowl….you can add 12 shakes if you’d like)
Parmesan Cheese (optional, but a great addition–add only up to 1/4 cup, if any)
1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients thoroughly until mixture is slightly sticky but does not stick to fingers too much. (Make sure not to overmix as that will warm the meat too much and make it super sticky.)
2) Roll meatballs into golf-ball sized pieces (or if you prefer a little smaller, you can do that too….go with what size you like, as long as you adhere close to the size of a golf ball). Place on sheet tray (or two) until all meat is used.
3) Bake in oven at 350 for 15-20 minutes, turning them at least once halfway through. Serve with spaghetti and sauce (and devour every last bite!)