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Mamas Meatballs

Updated April 06, 2016
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Editor's Note: Traditional Italian food is hard to come by, but once you find a recipe like this Mama’s Meatballs recipe that's been in the family for generations, you know you've found a keeper. Mama’s Meatballs is a meatball recipe like none you've ever tried before. The meatballs are tender and full of flavor - you'll like these better than the spaghetti you serve them with! They're great over pasta, on sandwiches, or even on their own. You'll never go back to frozen meatballs once you've tried this delicious Italian dish.
My mother is known better for these meatballs than she ever could have imagined. In Italy, meatballs, or polpette, are usually a lot smaller and, weird as it may seem, never eaten with pasta. They are served alone or in soup. In the United States, they became a lot bigger and are eaten alone, on heros, with spaghetti, and even on pizza. There are a lot of meatballs out there, folks, and I’m sure you have tasted your fair share, but I believe these are the best meatballs in the world. I can’t, to this day, pinpoint what it is that makes them so phenomenal; I think it is largely the fact that she mixes and rolls them by hand. They are not dense like many meatballs, but they also don’t fall apart in tomato sauce. It’s not.just my bias speaking here; everyone loves them. People who hate pork love them; people who never go near veal can’t get enough. Vegetarians make exceptions for them. I encourage you to make these meatballs your own. Your kids will love something you make by hand, too.

Serves20 meatballs

Cooking MethodPan-frying, Sauteeing

CostModerate

Moderate

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionBuffet, Casual Dinner Party, Family Get-together, Game Day

Recipe CourseMain Course

Dietary ConsiderationPeanut Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free

EquipmentBlender, Food Processor

MealDinner

MoodBlue

Taste and TextureMeaty, Savory, Spiced

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • ¼ yellow onion
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • ¼ cup fresh italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped fine
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • ½ pound ground veal
  • 1/3 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 6 cups Mama’s Marinara
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

Place the chicken stock, garlic, and onions in a blender or food processor and purée.

In a large bowl, combine the puréed stock mix, meat, bread crumbs, eggs, Parmigiano-Reggiano, red pepper flakes, and salt. Combine with both hands until the mixture is uniform. Do not overmix.

Put a little olive oil on your hands and form the mixture into balls a little larger than golf balls. They should be about ¼ cup each, though if you prefer bigger or smaller, it will only affect the browning time.

Pour about ½ inch of extra-virgin olive oil into a straight-sided, 10-inch-wide sauté pan and heat over a medium-high flame. Add the meatballs to the pan (working in batches, if necessary) and brown the meatballs well on all sides. This will take about 10-15 minutes.

While the meatballs are browning, heat the marinara sauce in a stockpot over medium heat. Lift the meatballs out of the sauté pan with a slotted spoon and put them in the marinara sauce. Stir gently. Simmer for one hour.

Serve with a little extra Parmigiano-Reggiano sprinkled on top.

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I can not wait to eat this it looks so delicious

Yeh, they're great but...and I know this isn't culinary school or Food Network, or Cook's Illus., but couldn't Rocco or ANYONE share some tips with chef-wannabes such as myself, or simply the dude/chick trying to impress a date or the family? Like, how do you keep the meatballs from sticking to the pan? what type of pan? what to do with the lovely fond left over? I dont't understand why these guys give these great recipes with zero instruction beyond the absolute basic recipe and instructions. We who support the network by watching the show, and by joining the website, deserve some sort of consideration. BTW, great meatballs, used them in the Mama Sauce, they did stick to the pan, but I've always been one to bake my meatballs just to avoid the mess. Even my Sicilian import Mama-B was impressed (sort of)

My family loved these... so good. Thanks for sharing :)

Rocco's mama's meatballs are wonderful!! Thank you for sharing the recipe with us :)

I have been making these meatballs for YEARS...ever since Rocco had that reality show....The Restaurant. They are the BEST!

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