Italian Classic Beef Meatballs. Round, tender, juicy, not dried out and packed with flavor. Typically served over pasta in sauces and sub sandwiches or served on platters for appetizers, meatballs are everyones friend. Today let me show you How to Make Italian Classic Beef Meatballs, what goes in them and how versatile they are for any meal!
These Italian Classic Beef Meatballs use ground beef, are light in breadcrumbs, get added fat from ricotta cheese and are seasoned beautifully with red pepper flakes and ground fennel.
I don’t go the bread soaked in milk route for these as the moistness coming from the ricotta is good, the cheese flavor doesn’t overpower, and they keep their shape well.
Back in December I mentioned I would be starting a few Series here on Kevin Is Cooking and one of those would be on a favorite of mine Meatballs!
“Starting next year I’m going to be initiating a once a month post series on some of my favorite foods.
I’m going to be doing a series on ribs, meatballs and a few others that I have up my sleeve. This way you’ll have a go-to source for the ultimate, and what I’m thinking are the tastiest on classic recipes, originals and twists to well-known recipes as well.”
While I have several meatball recipes already here on the site I figured it best to start at the beginning and show you How to Make Classic Beef Meatballs.
There is no wrong way to cook these. Many roast, some pan fry others braise them in a sauce.
I prefer to roll them, fit them snug in a baking dish and roast them. Then in the sauce they go or get covered with the sauce and roast a little longer.
These are perfect for any meatball sandwich, covered with melted mozzarella cheese. Piled high atop al dente spaghetti, napped with your favorite sauce (or gravy) depending on where you’re at. I believe calling it gravy elsewhere alludes to meat in the sauce though.
For this one I used my favorite, Arrabbiata Sauce. It’s a wonderfully rich, zesty and spicy tomato sauce made from crushed tomatoes, red wine, garlic and red pepper flakes that is slowly simmered with herbs and onion and you can find the recipe for it here.
For other Italian meals, try my Classic Chicken Meatballs, Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce, Orecchiette with Sausage and Spinach, or this Cheese Crusted Baked Ziti. For more meatball recipes, search the site and keep your eyes peeled for more in the series once a month. Enjoy!
How to Make Italian Classic Beef Meatballs
- 2 lbs ground beef (See Note 1)
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese shredded
- 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup basil chopped
- 1/4 cup parsley chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh oregano chopped
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp ground fennel
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 32 oz spaghetti sauce (See Note 2)
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat bottom of a 13x9" roasting pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, set aside.
- In a large bowl add the ground beef, eggs, ricotta, breadcrumbs, herbs and seasonings. Mix thoroughly by hand.
- By hand or scoop, make 24 to 28 meatballs about the size of a golf ball. Stack them tightly in the baking dish so all sides are touching.
- Roast for 20 minutes (internal temp should be 165°F). While roasting heat your favorite spaghetti sauce (or gravy). After the 20 minutes pour spaghetti sauce evenly over meatballs and roast another 15 minutes. Serve immediately over your favorite pasta or in a sub sandwich.
- I use 80/20 ground beef
- Use your favorite spaghetti sauce. For this recipe I used my Arrabbiata Sauce, a spicy spaghetti sauce.