Homemade meatballs are a staple in any proper Italian household. When I was a kid, our mom and dad cooked loads of these bite-sized spheres of deliciousness in all variations. They would be slow cooked in sauce, sometimes rolled extra small to fit between layers of lasagna or stuffed with fontina cheese and baked.
The evolution of our family meatball recipe occurred when our cugini (that is Italian for cousins) visited and we were introduced to the art of frying the meatball. (Yes, I know. I thought it was an unnecessary step too, but then I ate them.) Let’s just say I have never looked back and the crowd also always approves.
You will find giving the meatball more of a crust on the outside elevates the experience. That, along with combining the perfect blend of pork and beef, and they are on point! Or, in this case, on ball.
2 lbs ground beef
2lbs ground pork
1/2 c. bread crumbs
1 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 bunch chop Italian parsley
Generous salt and pepper – I do everything to taste.
flour for dredging
1/4 c. olive and 1/4 c. vegetable or canola oil for frying
Begin by tossing the meat, eggs, bread crumbs, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper into a bowl and combining well with your hands. When the ingredients are properly mixed, roll your balls about 1 1/2 in. in diameter. When all of the meat is rolled into balls, dredge each one so they are completely covered in flour. Shake off any excess flour and warm the oil (olive and vegetable) in your skillet over medium heat.
When the oil is hot, gently add the meatballs in one layer. When the first side is browned, rotate. I usually brown on three sides.
My Lodge cast iron skillet is the only pan I use unless I am boiling water. The seasoned cast iron is another reason these guys taste so good!
After a nice crust has formed on the meatballs, they can be finished off in a simple sauce. I don’t drain the oil, I just pop them in. Simmer for an hour at medium heat, serve over pasta next to a romaine salad or on some french bed. There is no wrong answer.
Side note: You can cook them completely in oil. The will be a little more firm, not as fork tender, but still delicious.
Disclaimer: I lost sleep over the fact that didn’t have that perfect shot of the perfect dish and then I thought, nah. This is what it looks like. This is the real deal.