Classic Meatballs

  • Serves

    serves 4-6


The key to making these meatballs is to brown them first in a skillet and then braise them in a sauce of red wine and tomatoes. Serve them with crusty bread or spaghetti to sop up the sauce.

Find this recipe in our cookbook, SAVEUR: Italian Comfort Food


  • 10 oz. ground beef chuck or veal
  • 10 oz. ground pork shoulder
  • 2 oz. minced pork fat or unsmoked bacon
  • 2 oz. prosciutto, minced
  • 1 14 cups loosely packed flat-leaf parsley leaves, minced, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 12 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
  • 12 tsp. ground cumin
  • 14 tsp. ground allspice
  • 7 slices white bread, finely ground in a food processor
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 23 cup ricotta, drained in a strainer for 2 hours
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
  • 14 cup dry red wine
  • 4 cups canned tomato purée
  • 1 cup beef or veal stock or water
  • Grated parmesan, for garnish


Step 1

In a large bowl, combine beef, pork, pork fat, prosciutto, parsley, oregano, fennel seeds, chile flakes, cumin, allspice, and bread crumbs and season generously with salt and pepper. Using your fingers, mix ingredients until combined; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together ricotta, milk, and eggs; add to meat mixture and gently mix until incorporated. Chill for 1 hour.

Step 2

Heat oven to 300°. Grease 2 rimmed baking sheets with oil and set aside. Using a 2-oz. ice cream scoop, portion mixture, roll into meatballs with your hands, and transfer to greased baking sheets. Heat 3 tbsp. oil in a 3-qt. high-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the meatballs; cook, turning occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer meatballs to a plate; wipe out skillet. Repeat with remaining oil and meatballs. Return reserved meatballs to skillet along with any juices from the plate. Add wine; increase heat to high and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and beef stock, bring to a boil, and tightly cover skillet. Transfer to oven; bake until meatballs are tender and have absorbed some of the sauce, about 1 1⁄2 hours. To serve, transfer meatballs to a platter; spoon over sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan and parsley. Serve with bread or spaghetti, if you like.

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