Delicious Authentic Italian-American Meatball Recipe

Delicious Authentic Italian-American Meatball Recipe

Indulge in the most tender, flavorful, and succulent Italian-American meatball recipe you’ve ever tasted. These mouthwatering meatballs are so delicate, they practically melt in your mouth!

Crafting the perfect meatball is an art form, and this recipe delivers a masterpiece. Picture a generous, juicy sphere of expertly seasoned meat that’s so tender, it yields effortlessly to the gentlest touch of a spoon.

After extensive experimentation and refinement, we’ve unlocked the secret to creating meatballs that are substantial in appearance yet astonishingly light and tender. Imagine biting into a meatball that’s weightless like a matzo ball, releasing a burst of savory juices with each bite.

Selecting the Ideal Meat Blend

Our recipe calls for a harmonious 1:1 ratio of beef to pork, striking the perfect balance between flavor and texture. This combination results in a meatball that’s loose enough to maintain its ground meat character, yet cohesive enough to hold its shape.

The Magic of the Panade

The key to achieving unparalleled juiciness lies in the panade – a mixture of fresh bread soaked in liquid. We’ve discovered that buttermilk is the ultimate soaking agent, its tangy notes elevating the overall flavor profile while ensuring maximum moisture retention.

Flavor Explosion

These meatballs are a symphony of flavors, combining:

  • Minced onion for texture and sweetness
  • Generous amounts of garlic for depth
  • Fresh parsley for a burst of herbal freshness
  • Dried oregano for that classic Italian-American touch
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for umami richness

The Secret to Supreme Tenderness

Fat Content

We introduce minced pancetta to the mix, which slowly renders as the meatballs cook, infusing them with rich, flavorful fat.

Moisture Boosting Technique

Inspired by soup dumplings, we incorporate small pockets of gelled stock into the meat mixture, creating tiny reservoirs of moisture that keep the meatballs incredibly juicy.

The “Temper” Technique: A Game-Changer in Meatball Mixing

Our innovative “temper” technique ensures perfect incorporation of ingredients without overmixing:

  1. Blend the panade with seasonings and moisture ingredients
  2. Whip in a portion of the meat until fully incorporated
  3. Gently fold in the remaining meat by hand

This method results in meatballs with the ideal texture – not as loose as a hamburger, but not as compact as a sausage.

Cooking to Perfection

We employ a two-step cooking process:

  1. Broil the meatballs for an even, flavorful sear
  2. Simmer briefly in tomato sauce to finish cooking

This approach ensures maximum flavor development while maintaining optimal juiciness.


  • 1/4-ounce (7g) packet unflavored gelatin (optional)
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) chicken stock or low-sodium broth (optional)
  • 6 ounces (170g) crustless fresh white bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) buttermilk, plus more as needed
  • 2 cups finely minced yellow onion (9 ounces; 265g)
  • 3 ounces (85g) fatty pancetta, finely minced
  • 2 ounces (55g) Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
  • 8 medium cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, minced
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel seed
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound (455g) ground beef (at least 25% fat)
  • 1 pound (455g) ground pork (at least 25% fat)
  • 5 cups (1.2L) tomato sauce


  1. If using gelatin, sprinkle it over stock in a heatproof cup. Let stand for 5 minutes. Microwave until gelatin dissolves. Refrigerate until set.
  2. In a stand mixer bowl, combine bread with buttermilk. Let stand until bread is fully moistened.
  3. Add onion, pancetta, cheese, garlic, parsley, egg yolks, oregano, fennel, salt, pepper, and minced gelled stock (if using) to the bread mixture.
  4. Beat the mixture until thoroughly blended.
  5. Add 1/3 of the beef and pork. Beat until fully incorporated.
  6. Gently mix in remaining meat by hand until evenly distributed.
  7. Form mixture into large meatballs (about 2-inches wide).
  8. Broil meatballs until browned on top.
  9. Simmer meatballs in tomato sauce until cooked through.
  10. Serve with additional sauce and grated cheese.

Recipe Notes

This recipe yields about 20 large meatballs. Adjust size and cooking times as needed. The stock and gelatin enhance juiciness but are optional. Use fatty pancetta for best results. Aim for ground meat with about 25% fat content for optimal texture and flavor.

Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 810
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 50g 64%
Saturated Fat 19g 97%
Cholesterol 340mg 113%
Sodium 1486mg 65%
Total Carbohydrate 28g 10%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 60g
Vitamin C 33mg 164%
Calcium 326mg 25%
Iron 6mg 34%
Potassium 1367mg 29%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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