These perfect meatballs I adapted from a recipe I found a couple of years ago by Nagi @ RecipeTin Eats. Nagi’s meatballs were the closet thing to meatball heaven I have tasted yet, but naturally, I wanted to put my own spin on things.
It has taken a few trials and errors, but I finally found, what I would call, the ‘perfect’ meatballs. Whilst ‘perfect’ is of course subjective, these meatballs are Juicy, Soft, and Incredibly tasty. What more could you ask for from a meatball? From my kitchen to yours, I promise you’re going to love these!
Perfect Italian Meatballs, Perrie Homestead
250g Pork Mince
250g Beef Mince
2 Slices Thin White Bread
1 Large Onion
2 Small Carrots
2 Large Free Range Eggs
3 Fresh Garlic Cloves, Finely Minced (Or 1 tablespoon of minced garlic)
2 Teaspoons of Salt
1/2 Teaspoon of Black Pepper
1/8 Teaspoon of Ground Fennel Seed
1 Tsp of Italian Herbs
1 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Parmesan
3 Tablespoons of Flour (to lightly coat meat balls)
690ml Tomato Passata
1 Teaspoon Garlic
1 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 1/4 Teaspoon Caster Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Fennel Seed
1 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 Cup Beef Broth
Generous Crack Black Pepper
Fresh Chopped Parsley, to serve.
- In a food processor, break down the carrots and onion into very very fine pieces. If you do not have a food processor, I would recommend first grating the vegetables, and then dicing through the shreds to get the smallest pieces possible. This will pull the juices out of the vegetables to get their maximum flavour and also help the vegetables incorporate evenly throughout the meatballs to ensure the best texture.
- Once you have finely broken down your vegetables, place your 2 slices of bread in the bottom of a bowl and add the vegetables and their juices on top. Sprinkle a little salt on top of the mixture to help draw moisture from the vegetables. This technique sounds a little strange, but the wet bread will keep the moisture within the meatballs, leaving them lovely and soft, whilst soaking up all the lovely flavours of the beef as they cook. Trust me, this step is absolutely worth your time!
- Once the bread has had the opportunity to soak, pull or cut the bread into rough small cubes. To the bread/vegetable mixture, add your beef and pork mince, free range eggs, garlic, salt, pepper, ground fennel, Italian herbs and dried parmesan. Using a clean dry hand, or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix ingredients well until incorporated, but don’t over mix. The mixture will feel quite wet, but avoid temptation to add anything extra.
- With clean wet hands (to stop sticking), form the meatball mixture into golf ball sized meatballs, tossing a little flour around each meatball as you form the balls in your hand – this is a great time to get a helping hand in the kitchen! This will make approximately 20 meat balls. Personally I love the gourmet feel that the large meatballs offer, it helps turn a weeknight meal into something a little special – however feel free to make half size meatballs. If you do this, however, keep in mind that the cooking time may halve.
- In a medium hot pan with a little olive oil, brown each side of the meatball to seal the edges. Once the meatballs are evenly browned, remove the meatballs from the pan. To the pan, add the jar of tomato passata, garlic, salt, caster sugar, ground fennel seed, Worcestershire sauce, beef broth and black pepper. Heat the sauce through well and reduce if necessary.
- Turn the heat down to a light simmer, and add the meatballs to the sauce, leave the meatballs to cook for approximately 5-10 minutes before you start gently rolling the meatballs in the sauce. Cook for an additional 10-15 minutes until cooked through. Of course, choose a sacrificial meat ball to test (and munch) on!
- Remove the sauce covered meat balls from the pan, and fold cooked pasta of your choice through the remaining sauce. Twirl a lovely mound of pasta onto each plate, and scoop on top your beautiful tender meatballs. Top with fresh chopped parsley, and maybe a grating of sharp Parmesan cheese – enjoy!