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Italian cuisine is simple and easy to make at home. There are many delicious dishes you can make but one that’s sure to please is baked meatballs. Making meatballs this way is also much healthier than deep frying them. This quick and easy baked meatball recipe is worth a try for your next meal.
You can make meatballs out of any meat you prefer. But most recipes call for a combination of two kinds of meat rather than just one. Meats with a higher fat content like beef, pork, lamb and pork can make more tender meatballs. But it’s understandable if you’d want to keep the fat content a bit lower. Chicken or turkey work ok, but they can get tough and dried out very quickly. For the best results, combine chicken or turkey with a fattier meat. You’ll want to buy meat that’s already ground to make the process easier. You won’t need a lot of ingredients other than the meat, baked meatballs are pretty simple.
- * ½ cup milk
- * 2 cups of bread crumbs
- * 1 pound ground beef
- * ½ pound ground pork
- * ½ cup minced or grated onion(drained)
- * 2 garlic cloves, minced
- * ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
- * 2 tablespoons chopped basil
- * ⅓ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano (or parmesan)
- * 1 teaspoon salt
- * ½ teaspoon white pepper
- * ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- * ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- * 1 egg
- * Olive oil spray
Here’s how to make perfect meatballs
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, pork, grated onions, garlic, parsley, basil, cheese, salt, white and black pepper, red pepper flakes, egg and bread crumbs. Make sure it is mixed well and evenly so all the meatballs come out the same. You may want to start with a spoon but eventually, start to combine the ingredients using your hands.
- Shape the mixture into about twelve balls. Be careful not to work them too much, mix and shape them lightly.
- Line a baking sheet or pan with foil or parchment paper and spray it lightly with olive oil spray. Arrange the meatballs in a single layer with about a half inch of space in between each one. Spray the tops with olive oil spray.
- Bake meatballs at 375 Degrees until cooked through or browned, about 12-15 minutes. Meatballs should be cooked to about a 165 degree internal temperature.
The ThermoPro TP-22 Digital Wireless Remote Meat BBQ Grill Cooking Thermometer is an excellent tool for this. It’s very easy to use. It has a separate unit that you can take with you to another room or another part of the kitchen to prepare something else. The wireless component helps you keep an eye on your meat from up to 300 feet away. It’s programmed with several settings for different kinds of meat including Ground Beef, Ground Poultry, Beef, Veal, Chicken, Pork, Poultry, Lamb and Fish. It also has different doneness levels from Rare to Well Done.
Tips to keep meatball juicy
Meatballs are a food that can easily get dried out if you aren’t careful. There are a few things you can do to prevent that. Here are a few tips
- Make sure all your ingredients are cold when you go to start the recipe
- Make sure the recipe uses some kind of liquid or moisture element. This can be from several sources too like parmesan cheese, egg and milk.
- Don’t handle the meatball to much before baking. Too much handling can make them very try. Quickly form the balls and get them in the oven. They don’t have to be perfect.
- Pay attention to the ratio of meats you use. Using all poultry can make very dry meatballs. Always strive for a mix of meats, making sure one or both of them are higher fat meat like beef, veal or pork.
If you’re particularly ambitious you can try a trick that some chefs use. Some food fanatics call for finely diced gelled broth as a moisture source for their meatballs. It’s entirely optional but it can add some juiciness back to the recipe. The broth cooks and forms little pockets within the meatball making them have a very moist taste and texture.
What about the rest of the meal?
Meatballs can be a meal on their own but most people like to serve them alongside pasta and sauce. The sauce is a personal thing but this recipe is a great option. You can customize it as much as you’d like as well. Sauce from a can or jar will work, but there’s a certain satisfaction that comes from making your own. Having your own sauce can become a signature dish for you and someday friends and family may know you for it.
Awesome and simple tomato sauce Ingredients:
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 medium onion sliced
- 2-3 teaspoons garlic
- 2 14- ounce can tomato sauce
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian herbs
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon curry (optional)
- 1-2 cups broth, beef or chicken
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley (for garnish)
- In a large saucepan, pour in the 1/4 cup of oil and bring to medium heat.
- Add the chopped onion, thyme and garlic and stir for about 2-3 minutes until translucent.
- Add in the tomato sauce, dried herbs, white pepper, paprika and curry powder. Continue to let it simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes and stir frequently.
- Pour in about one cup of broth. Start with a cup, you can always add more if needed. Bring the whole pot to a boil and let it simmer about 30 minutes. It can simmer longer if you have the time and you want the flavors more immersed. Be sure to start with just a cup of broth. You can always add more, but it’s much harder to thicken a sauce that’s too thin.
This tomato sauce can be used for many other dishes too and it can keep well in the refrigerator or freezer. You can even make one double or triple batch and store the remaining sauce so you can always have it on hand. Meatballs can be frozen and reheated as well. So to save time, all you’d need to do is whip up some pasta while your meatball and sauce defrosts.
Between this delicious sauce and the meatball recipe, you are sure to have a delicious meal. You may want to consider plating your pasta, then meatballs then sauce all over the top. Some suggest simmering the meatballs in the sauce, but that can dry them out.
Meatballs can be an absolutely delicious meal. Some people can be intimidated by making them but with a little knowledge, it’s not so hard.
While it may seem to be more traditional to fry them, baking actually helps retain the moisture and creates a delicious brown crispiness on the outside. Baking meatballs cuts down on fat content and helps you consume less oil and deep fried foods. But that certainly doesn’t mean it’s a boring or bland meal. They are bursting with flavors and they’ll likely be something you begin to crave. Your family may soon start asking when you’re making them again.
Pasta, sauce and meatballs are a classic comfort food that’s loved by many. They can be customized to your favorite preferences or made different with different sauces like pesto or vodka sauce. Jazz things up with a different kind of pasta or bread as well. The possibilities are endless and it’s sure to be delicious. Give homemade meatballs a try next time you’re looking for a delicious meal to make. It’s simple and the payoff is more than worth it!