One meatball recipe, three dinner ideas
Something magic happens when you roll mince into bite-sized balls and cook it in sauce, Italian-style. Juicy, flavourful, and oh-so-satisfying, and they can be enjoyed in all different ways! Once you know the basics, making them is easy, but there are a few questions home cooks commonly ask, like, "Why are my meatballs dry?" and "How do I keep meatballs from falling apart?".
This one meatball recipe can be made into meatball parmigiana, meatball pizza or a meatball pasta bake. Get the recipes below and follow these tips to create juicy, tasty meatballs with just the right texture.
How to make Italian meatballs
This one easy and tasty Italian meatball recipe can be made into three fantastic dinner ideas, see all the recipes below.
500 g pork and veal mince (see tip)
125 g (1 cup) Perfect Italiano Parmesan Grated
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup dried (packaged) breadcrumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Place mince, 1/2 cup (60 g) of the parmesan, the garlic, egg and breadcrumbs in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and mix well to combine. Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls.
2. Finish cooking your meatballs using the recipe for Meatball Parmigiana, Meatball Pizza or a Meatball Pasta Bake, or freeze your meatballs for the future (see tips below!).
Get the recipe: One-pan Meatball Parmigiana
One of the easiest ways to prepare your meatballs, all in one pan and only takes 40 minutes. Serve these meatballs with salad and garlic bread, and ladle leftovers (if there are any) into a sub sandwich.
Get the recipe: Italian Meatball Pasta Bake
A different want to enjoy your traditional Italian meatballs is in a hearty pasta bake. Curls of pasta with flavourful tomato sauce and tasty meatballs is an easy way to feed a hungry hoard.
Get the recipe: Perfect Pizza Dough
How to freeze meatballs
Follow these steps and you can freeze uncooked meatballs for a future meal:
- Place meatballs in a single layer on a tray lined with baking paper and put in the freezer.
- Once meatballs are hard and frozen, place in an airtight container layered between baking paper or place in large ziplock bag and freeze for up to 2 months.
- Defrost meatballs in the fridge overnight or up to 24 hours. Cook as per recipe.
If cooking meatballs directly in a sauce, you can cook them from frozen. Simply place in sauce and simmer for 5 minutes longer than usual or until cooked through.
Why are my meatballs dry?
If your meatballs are dry, it's most likely because the meat is too lean. The right fat content will make your meatballs juicier and tastier, so don't be afraid to use standard mince rather than lean mince.
Overcooking may also be the culprit. Meatballs don't take long to cook, so it's best to follow the cooking times in the recipe.
Why are my meatballs tough?
Meatballs can become tough when they are overworked. Avoid overmixing your meatball mixture, it's best to use clean hands to gently incorporate all the ingredients together until just combined. Ingredients like cheese and breadcrumbs also play a key role in keeping your meatballs nice and tender.
What mince is best for meatballs?
You've got to start with good ingredients, and with meatballs, it's all about the mince. Italian meatballs are generally made using a combination of pork and veal mince. This combination of mince meats gives meatballs a great authentic Italian flavour and also helps to keep the meatballs juicy.
You can get pork and veal mince from the supermarket. It is sometimes labelled as pork and beef mince. If you can't find it combined, you can buy the mince meats separately and mix them together.
Why do my meatballs fall apart?
There are a few tricks and tips that can help you bind your meatballs so that they stay intact:
- Egg: A lot of meatball recipes include egg, the white from the eggs helps to bind the balls together.
- Breadcrumbs: If the mince mixture is quite wet, breadcrumbs are often used to help soak up excess moisture so that the balls don’t fall apart. Breadcrumbs also help keep meatballs tender.
- Chill: Once you have rolled your meatballs, pop them in the fridge for half an hour if you can spare the time. This gives the egg and other ingredients time to bind properly resulting in a more robust meatball while cooking.
What goes well with meatballs?
Other ideas that go well with meatballs are:
- Spaghetti: meatballs and spaghetti are a classic combination.
- Potatoes: mashed potatoes work well, or a potato and sweet potato bake
- Vegetable bake or ratattouille: a delicious side for meatballs and a good way to get your greens
- Risotto: Try topping this bacon, tomato and spinach risotto with meatballs
- Fresh steamed vegetables: green beans, peas, asparagus, broccoli or corn are good options
- Bread: make a meatball sub with fresh lettuce, extra sauce and shaved parmesan
- Mac n cheese: make the ultimate comfort meal by spooning meatballs onto creamy mac n cheese
More dinner recipes
For more dinner ideas, you can download the Easy Cheesy Cookbook by clicking the banner below. It's full of other great dinner ideas using mince, chicken and pasta for easy family dinners everyone will enjoy.
*DISCLAIMER: Perfect Italiano is a contributing recipe partner at myfoodbook.com.au. This feature includes a mix of content sourced from Perfect Italiano and our own opinions. You can find out more about the full range of Perfect Italiano Cheese here.