I didn't think I could love meatballs. They're just globs of ground beef and honestly - what's the big deal? But on this day, I am here to apologize, profusely. I get it, now. I GET IT. Meatballs now have a place in my heart and especially because they're so simple to make!
This is a really forgiving recipe so you can get as creative as you'd like. Add fresh herbs, or don't. Use one cheese or five different cheeses.
As you know, I love to share pro tips to make this process as easy for you as possible.
Pull all your ingredients ahead of time so that you spend less time making your babies.
You may choose to omit the milk if you'd like, they'll still come out fabulous. But the milk really plumps up the breadcrumbs and makes for a much juicier meatball.
You have a choice between 1 or 2 eggs and I always go with 2. I like my meatballs juicy but I also don't like to see them fall apart in my sauce. I just need it to always look as perfect as possible (working on this little OCD-ish thing).
You can choose to fry the meatballs first or add them to the sauce directly. I like a little crisp to my meatballs, so I fry first. You can also choose to bake them (on a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper).
I use bottled spaghetti sauce for the recipe when I'm in a rush but PLEASE add some flavor to those. I add a lot of basil to the sauce. They can be super bland and I don't want you blaming the lack of flavor on our precious meatballs.
Cheese isn't absolutely necessary but y'all already know ... ya girl LOVES cheese.
Let's get it!
l 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1/3 c. breadcrumbs
1⁄2 cup grated parmesan cheese (I also use white sharp cheddar, asiago, romano, feta)
1 - 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 head of garlic (about 8 cloves) fresh minced/finely chopped garlic
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon red peper flakes
1⁄2 teaspoon oregano
1⁄3 cup whole milk
Knead all ingredients together in a large bowl using your hands. Be sure to really mix the ingredients together well.
If baking your meatballs, preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Shape the ground beef into your desired size of meatballs and place on a baking sheet until you're done and ready to fry/bake.
If frying your meatballs, add your meatballs - a few at a time - to your nonstick pan on medium high heat (oil is optional - ground beef has a lot of its own fat). Fry on 2-3 sides for a total of 5 minutes.
If baking your meatballs, place your meatballs in the oven for about 20 minutes (please use parchment paper, NOT WAX PAPER, or a silicone baking mat).
If you're not cooking the meatballs prior, drop the meatballs into your seasoned and simmering pasta sauce. To avoid breaking the meatballs, do not stir for at least 20 minutes. Cook for another 20 minutes - this should be enough time to fully cook your meatballs.
For cooked meatballs, add to the seasoned and simmering pasta sauce and cook for 20 minutes.
You can cook the meatballs for as long as you desire. With precooked meatballs, I cook them for about 30-40 minutes.