Mom’s Italian Meatball Recipe That Never Fails
By Jon Bailey - February 27, 2020
This post was written in partnership with Perdue Farms where I am a brand ambassador, and the thoughts expressed here about my Italian meatball recipe are my own.
If you have read any of my food or recipes stories, you'll know I usually talk about my Sicilian mom and her immigrant parents. We were raised in a family with a great amount of love, and it's a BIG family. When we would get together for weddings/birthdays/holidays/Sunday dinners, food was a tangible way to show that love. We literally ate our hearts out! Of course there were many dishes we all enjoyed, but my mom had an Italian meatball recipe that never fails.
Even now all these years later, I make mom's Italian meatball recipe on Sundays for my own family. I've added variations along the way, and come up with a tasty version of my own. I like to make them with traditional Sicilian sugo (sauce) and a mess of linguini noodles. Mmmmm so delicious.
Mom's Italian Meatball Recipe
There are a couple of ingredients my mom would always include in her Italian meatball recipe. These were things people seemed surprised to learn were included in meatballs. Mint. Sugar. And in my case, ground pork meat along with the ground beef. I use only the best – Niman Ranch Ground Beef and Niman Ranch Ground Pork, delivered directly to my door with my order from Perdue Farms. You can order these and other things too, and use my affiliate code for special savings!
Most of the best sugo recipes call for deliciously tender meats to flavor the tomato sauce mixture as it cooks. A good Sicilian sugo would sometimes cook on the stove for four, five, even six hours. This slow cook process ensures the flavors all blend just perfectly. The sauces will have cooked down all the ingredients to an ideal consistency. Plopping in the meatballs only adds more wonderful flavor while the meatballs cook in the sauce.
(makes about 12)
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped very finely
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped very finely
1 Tbs rosemary, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 Tbs sugar
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup bread crumbs
1 lb package of Niman Ranch All Natural Ground Beef
1 lb package of Niman Ranch All Natural Ground Pork
Salt and pepper to taste
Using your hands, mix all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. Make sure all components are blended together well throughout the mixture.
Roll mixture together in firm balls a little larger than a golf ball. Place on a plate one at a time until all the mixture has been used. Cover, and place the plate of meatballs in the refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes.
Remove from refrigerator and gently place the meatballs one at a time into the sugo pot. Make sure the balls do not stick to one another as you fill the pot. Using a wooden spoon, push the meatballs beneath the surface of the sauce so that they will fully cook. Cover the pot and let cook on low for about 15 minutes. Very gently stir to make sure the meatballs are not sticking to the pan or each other. Cover again and let cook for at least another hour.
Serve with cooked pasta (we like linguini or rigatoni depending on the mood). Place pasta in a bowl and ladle sugo and meatball(s) on top with a generous helping. Top with grated parmesan cheese as desired.
And for god's sake, make sure you've prepared too much food. There must be leftovers to eat for lunch the next day, or my Sicilian nana will turn in her grave!
Other Italian Recipes
If you're still hungry for more great Italian recipes, check out these favorites: