Italian Meatballs

Recipe courtesy of Marcia Friedman from Meatballs and Matzah Balls: Recipes and Reflections from a Jewish and Italian Life. Accompanying recipe photo credit: © Marcia Friedman.

It seems like we can never have too many of these meatballs, a childhood favorite of mine. Browned in olive oil and braised in tomato sauce, the seasoned beef becomes tender and richly flavored with spices and tomatoes. Serve the meatballs as appetizers or with the cooking sauce over warm pasta. The only significant change I've made to my mom and dad's tried-and-true recipe is to omit the cheese to make them kosher (see note).


2 pounds lean ground beef
¾ cup finely chopped sweet onion
2 thick slices of nondairy sandwich bread (with crusts discarded), thoroughly soaked in water and gently squeezed of excess
¾ teaspoon salt, or to taste
1½ teaspoons garlic powder
1½ teaspoons dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
Extra-virgin olive oil
Berney's Italian Tomato Sauce


Mix beef and next seven ingredients (through eggs) together in a bowl until just combined. Heat a thin layer of olive oil in a large pan (such as a Dutch oven or frying pan) over medium-high heat.

Roll the meat mixture into balls about 1½ inches in diameter (or to desired size). Place as many as will fit in a single layer in the hot oil, and fry, turning to brown on at least two sides. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. Repeat with any remaining meatballs.

Assemble the sauce and when warm, stir in the meatballs. Simmer for at least 1 hour. Use a slotted spoon to remove from sauce if serving as an appetizer, or spoon meatballs and sauce over warm cooked pasta.



Yield: 30 to 40 meatballs (1½-inch diameter)

Recipe: Kosher, meat