It is no secret that I love meatballs. Maybe it’s because of the size. Perhaps it’s because they usually accompany pasta. Regardless, there is something quite special about these formed balls of meat that underlines the extra effort that went into getting them on the table. Technically, they are balls of ground meat that are seasoned and held together with some kind of binder, such as eggs or egg whites. The egg sticks to the breadcrumbs as well as the fat in the ground meat to keep them from falling apart while cooking.
This recipe is one of my recent favorites. I like using a mixture of both Italian sausage and ground beef. I baked them in the oven, then finished them off on the grill but you could completely cook them in the oven if you want. Freezing the formed balls for 15 minutes before cooking also helps them maintain their shape. These meatballs are delicious alone, but sing with spaghetti and a nice homemade marinara sauce!
Sausage & Beef Meatballs
Yield: 6-8 servings
1 pound ground Italian sausage (I used mild but if using hot, omit the crushed red pepper)
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon onion or garlic salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
In a large mixing bowl, using your hands combine the sausage, beef, eggs, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, oregano, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, parsley and crushed red pepper. Do not overwork the mixture. Shape into 1-1/2 inch balls and place on a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cook the meatballs for 10 minutes if finishing off on the grill. Otherwise, bake for 17-20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. If finishing on the grill, preheat to medium (350 degrees) and place the meatballs on cooking grate. Cook 10 minutes longer or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Serve warm.