Anyone who has ever grown up Italian American knows what waking up on a Sunday morning is like. It is meatballs frying for supper that afternoon. It might not be that way today in 2018 but it certainly was for the previous century. While I still can never perfect the way my mother made meatballs, the only way I come close is by baking, not frying. Baking does not only save you a ton of expensive olive oil and quite a mess, it also gives the meatball a much more uniform browned crust on all sides without having to flip, turn and rotate the meatballs in a pan on the stove.
The fierce argument is whether frying or baking is taboo. Let’s face it, our ancestors had a stove and it was easier and even more flavorful to fry. However, baking is actually more uniform, consistent, less messy and obviously less greasy. At the same time, they are just as flavorful as if they were fried if done right.
I’ve tried a few different methods like mini muffin non-stick teflon tins, and even baking parchment.
While still in search of the perfect method, I find myself more searching for the ingredients. As many might know, Italians don’t measure. They add ingredients by eye and season by taste.
So here is a guideline, and it is not set in stone, because some will like more onion, some less, and my mother certainly would not use so much expensive grated imported Parmesan cheese.
- 1.5 lbs of ground mixed meat (beef, pork, veal)
- 1/3 cup finely diced onions (about half a medium onion)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
- 1/3 cup plain bread crumbs, what you buy off the shelf is fine, don’t listen to the fancy celebrity chefs, while they might be right, to use day old bread put in the food processor, I am trying to recreate mom’s, not theirs.
- 1/3 Grated imported parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg
- Salt & Pepper to taste
If you are using a wire rack, simply bake at 400F for 40 minutes (approximately, check to see how well done or crispy you like the outside). If using the mini muffin tins, you are going to want to use a spoon and carefully flip them over halfway through the cooking/baking process.