These all beef meatballs are simple and delicious. The perfect weeknight supper for the busy cook!
Any good Nona will tell you that a moist meatball requires a blend of different meats. Whether you favor the traditional trio of beef, pork, and veal, or you opt for a Mediterranean twist with the addition of lamb, meatballs are rarely made with just one type of mince. There’s good reason for this amalgamation of various meats. It adds flavor complexity along with different amounts of fat, which help keep the meatball moist. The problem with a beef, pork, and veal meatball is that I rarely have pork and veal on hand. So during a given weeknight, already tired from a long day of work, I want to use whatever meat I have in my fridge and create a delicious meal.
To add complexity to these all-beef meatballs, I sautéed the onions, adding subtle sweetness and flavor. I added garlic powder which is full of flavor cuts out the need to chop garlic.
Once the flavor profile was determined, I focused on creating moist meatballs that wouldn’t dry out in the oven. I started with the traditional panade (paste made of bread and milk) to bring moisture and lightness to the meatballs. The meatballs were still lacking some richness so a couple eggs were added to bind the mixture together and add even more moisture.
Once roasted, the meatballs were juicy and delicious. Topped with my favorite store bought marinara sauce and provolone, these meatballs have become a staple weeknight meal in our home.
You can serve the meatballs with spaghetti or alongside a rustic baguette. We sometime fry up disks of polenta and serve the meatballs and sauce over the top. A little effort during the week will reward you with a delicious, comforting dinner the whole family will enjoy!
Moist, flavorful all-beef meatballs. The perfect weeknight dinner.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 slices bread, torn (any sliced bread will work)
½ cup whole milk or buttermilk
2 pounds 85% lean ground beef
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
½ cup chopped fresh parsley (plus extra for topping)
1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ tsp garlic powder
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 26-ounce jar store bought marinara sauce (look for a brand with high quality ingredients and little to no added sugar)
4 slices provolone or ½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 baguette or cooked spaghetti for serving
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9X13 baking dish with aluminum foil, set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the diced onion and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook over medium heat until the onions are translucent and starting to brown around the edges, about 5 minutes.
While the onions are cooking, combine the bread and milk in a measuring cup and allow the bread to fully soak up the milk.
Let the onions cool slightly. Combine the warm onions, milk soaked bread, and eggs in a large bowl, whisk with a fork to combine everything.
Crumble the ground beef over the egg mixture, sprinkle the parmesan, parsley, salt, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes over the beef.
Combine with clean hands until just mixed.
Roll ¼ cup portions of the meat into balls and place in the baking sheet in a single layer.
Continue to roll the beef into balls until you’ve used up the entire mixture.
Drizzle olive oil over the tops of the meatballs, bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
Remove the baking dish from the oven, pour the jar of marinara sauce over the meatballs.
Evenly distribute the provolone or mozzarella over the meatballs and place back in the oven until the cheese is melted and the internal temperature of the meatballs is 165 degrees, about 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven, garnish with parsley and serve with warm, crusty baguette or your favorite spaghetti.