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When I was growing up spaghetti and meatballs with was my favorite dinner.  Actually, pretty much anything having to do with pasta was a favorite.  My job at dinnertime was to make the green salad and place the finished salad into individual bowls for each family member.  Everything about spaghetti night was just perfect in my youthful opinion, especially if there was garlic bread slathered in butter.  Yum!

So here is my version of an Italian meatball which features lean ground beef and pork, as well as freshly grated Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese.  My recipe calls for torn up French bread instead of breadcrumbs, but you can use whatever you prefer or have on hand.  I’m fairly certain my Italian Grandmother {I called her Nanni} did the same.  You can also replace the pork with Italian sausage, just removing the casings and then follow the recipe.

I prefer torn up bread versus using canned bread crumbs {but if you use bread crumbs from your pantry I won’t tell}.  You’ll need about 2 cups of French bread torn into bite-sized pieces.  Place them into a large mixing bowl.

Add 1 tablespoon of chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley to the bread in your mixing bowl.

To the mixing bowl add 1 cup of milk and pour over the bread and chopped parsley.  Let the milk soak into the bread for about 10 minutes.

Create a small well in the center of your bread and add the 3 large eggs.  Using a microplane, add in 1/2 to 3/4 cup of Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese, break the egg yolks with a fork and then combine the eggs with the cheese and bread mixture.

Add 1 lb of lean ground beef and 3/4 lb of ground pork to the mixing bowl.  Using a combination of your hands and large wooden spoon, blend all ingredients together trying hard not to over-mix the meatball mixture.

Using a scoop or a spoon, scoop out meatball mixture onto a baking sheet (use either a Silpat or piece of parchment, which will ease your clean up), spacing them about 2 1/2 inches apart.  Your meatballs will not be perfectly round after baking and that’s ok {they’ll sit nicely on top of your spaghetti}.

I was able to fit about 16 meatballs onto my baking sheet.  Place them into a pre-heated oven (350 degrees) onto the middle rack and bake for 25-30 minutes.  Baking time will depend upon how large your meatballs are.  Make sure they are cooked completely through.

Here are those delicious meatballs with spaghetti and a quick tomato sauce.  If you’d like the recipe for the sauce, click here.  It’s simple and you can easily adjust it to your taste.

This week I’m taking a little break from baking {especially things like these} and concentrating on family dinners and soups and salads.  I’ll be posting some of those recipes later in the week.

Italian Meatballs


2 cups French bread, torn into bite-sized pieces

2 tbsp Italian parsley, chopped

1 cup milk

3 large eggs

1/2-3/4 cup Parmagiano Reggiano cheese, freshly grated

1 tsp Kosher salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 lb lean ground beef

1/2 lb ground pork


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl place the torn bread pieces and the chopped parsley.  Pour the milk over the bread and let sit for 10 minutes so that the bread will absorb the milk.  Create a well in the center of the milk mixture and add the three eggs.   Add the grated cheese.  Use a fork to break the yolks and then combine.

To the bread-egg mixture, add the last four ingredients.  Use your hands or a large wooden spoon to combine the meat with the bread-egg mixture thoroughly, trying not to over-work the meatball mixture.

Use a scoop to place the meatballs onto a parchment- (or Silpat) lined baking sheet about 2 1/2 inches apart.  Bake in preheated oven 25-30 minutes or until cooked through.

Yield: 32 meatballs