My mom-mom was a little Italian woman who could make anything. Crafts, cooking, baking … you name it, she could do it. Every Sunday our family would gather at Mom-Mom’s and Pop-Pop’s house for dinner. Almost always a homemade Italian meal. The only exceptions were the dog days of summer when Pop-Pop would grill.
All of us grandkids helped make spaghetti, ravioli, gnocchi, manigot (manicotti), lasagna … and meatballs. I’ve promised a lesson on making gnocchi, but today we’re talking meatballs. Mom-Mom’s meatballs were famous. She’d never make less than 50 at a time, and more often would make 100-200. She’d sell meatball sandwiches each year at the church’s June bazaar, along with fresh-squeezed lemonade, and people would flock to her booth.
Mom-Mom never measured ingredients and didn’t have a recipe for her meatballs so trying to replicate them was not always easy. She had it all in her head, but we kept asking for a written recipe. Thanks to our dear friend, Melba, we got one. One day when Mom-Mom was making her meatballs Melba was visiting. She took a pen and paper and wrote down everything Mom-Mom put in the mix. Every time I make meatballs, I think of my mom-mom. I also think of Melba and how grateful I am for the recipe in my hands, because it’s more than measurements – it’s a connection to wonderful memories.
Now to the recipe and the lesson!
What you’ll need:
5 lb ground beef (I use 80% lean)
2-1/2 cups breadcrumbs (or 1/2 cup per lb of meat)
5 eggs (or 1 egg per lb of meat)
garlic powder, parsley, basil, grated locatelli cheese, salt, pepper, italian seasonings to taste.
Spay a baking pan with olive oil Pam or rub with olive oil. Turn oven on to 350 degrees.
Mix ingredients in a large bowl by hand. (I suggest that you remove any rings) Instead of salt and pepper I like to use Nature’s Seasons (bottle with blue cap). Be gentle while you mix the meat or your meatballs will be very dense.
I forgot to put the bread crumbs in the photo above!
Roll the meat into meatballs. Try to keep them somewhat uniform in size so they cook at the same rate. Also, don’t pack them while you’re shaping – they’ll end up too dense.
Bake in your preheated oven for 30-45 minutes, or until browned.
Now they’re ready to eat, add right to your spaghetti gravy (no, we don’t call it sauce in our home), or cool and freeze. Any juices in the pan can also be added to the gravy or frozen for future use. Don’t throw them away … I believe Marie on the TV show Everybody Love Raymond called those juices liquid gold!
I hope you enjoy making and eating these meatballs as much as I do!