We love using our organic, grass-fed ground beef or a mix of ground meat, such as ground beef and ground antibiotic-free lamb. For a leaner meatball, you can also use organic ground turkey or antibiotic-free ground chicken.
Ground beef and ground lamb will result in a more tender meatball; ground turkey and ground chicken will cook faster as they lack the fat content.
- 1/2 cup milk (whole, 2%, or skim)
- 1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup finely minced Italian parsley
- 1 pound ground meat
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion (or grated on a coarse grater) from 1 small yellow onion
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
Adding Breadcrumbs & Milk
Soak breadcrumbs in milk, so that the bread becomes soggy, then mix the breadcrumbs right into the meat. This adds moisture to the meatballs and prevents the meat from becoming tough.
Mixing the Meat
Another trick to tender meatballs is not overworking the meat — mix the meat with the binder and other ingredients just until they're combined. We recommend using your hands.
Roasting the Meatballs
Roasting gives the meatballs more flavor. You can roast the meatballs under the broiler for maximum browning and crispy-edged effect, or you can cook them more gently by roasting in a hot oven.
- Pour the milk over the breadcrumbs in a small bowl and set aside while preparing the rest of the meatball mix.
- Whisk the egg in a large bowl until blended. Whisk in the salt and a generous quantity of black pepper, then whisk in the Parmesan and parsley.
- Add the meat to the egg mixture. Use your hands to thoroughly mix the egg into the ground meat.
- Add the onions, garlic, and soaked breadcrumbs to the meat. Mix them thoroughly into the meat with your fingers. Try not to overwork the meat; pinch the meat between your fingers rather than kneading it.
- Pinch off a piece of the meat mixture and gently roll between your hands to form 1 1/2-inch meatballs. Continue shaping until all the meat is used.
Arrange the meatballs spaced slightly apart on a baking sheet. Cook under the broiler for 20 to 25 minutes or bake at 400°F for 25 to 30 minutes. (Watch closely if cooking meatballs made with lean meat.) The meatballs are done when cooked through and the outsides are browned, and when they register 165°F in the middle on a thermometer. Serve immediately.