Mouth Watering Italian Meatballs with a Twist

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Easy Meatball Recipe

That Returns Big Smiles at the Dinner Table


Seems to be that every culture has a variation of the meatball. If we asked, most would think meatballs originated in Italy. Given the Italians are great at making meatballs, they were not the first.

Quick History:

The Chinese recipe of “Four Joy Meatballs” (四喜丸子—Si Xi Wanzi) is derived from Lu Cuisine, also called Shandong cuisine. It originated from the native cooking styles of East China’s Shandong province. Its history can date back to Qin Dynasty (221 BC to 207 BC)

Early recipes included in some of the earliest known Arabic cookbooks, generally concern seasoned lamb rolled into orange-sized balls, and glazed with egg yolk and sometimes saffron. This method was taken to the West and is referred to as gilding, or endorsing. Many regional variations exist, notable among them the unusually large Azerbaijani (Iran) Kufteh Tabrizi, having an average diameter of 20 cm, (8 in).

Classic Italian style meatballs often are made with Beef, Pork & Veal. The Pork offers a nice addition of fat and moisture. The Veal is very tender and has a meaty sweetness that pairs well, $$$. Veal is costly and a luxury protein.  Today in our recipe we are using Ground Chuck and Sirloin. Sirloin beef is known for its flavor profile. Takes the beefiness up a few notches.


Cooking the Meatballs

Wow, there is a lot of ways to cook Meatballs. I personally enjoy braising them in a flavorful Tomato sauce made with San Marzano tomatoes (Sauce Recipe Attached To Printable Recipe Card Below).  San Marzano tomatoes are said to be the very best tomatoes in the world, originating from Italy. San Marzano tomatoes are easy to find in most grocery store these days. Highly suggest you give them a try 🙂

Cooking Meatballs Methods

  • Braised
  • Fried
  • Baked
  • Smoked
  • Sou Vide (airtight bag cooked in warm water bath)
  • Microwave ( gross- but hey it’s a method )

So pretty much you can cook Meatballs anyway your heart desires.

What’s your favorite way? Did I miss a method? Leave your comments below if you like. Love to hear your thoughts.


italian meatballs southwest style

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italian meatballs

Mouth Watering Meatballs

Steven Pennington
Meatball recipe that could give Grandma a run for her money. Must try Recipe...
5 from 2 votes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 20


  • 2 Pound Ground Chuck
  • 1 Pound Ground Sirloin
  • Half of One Onion Vidalia Onion works great
  • 2 1/2 Tbs Minced Garlic
  • 2 Tbs Dry Oregano
  • 1/2 Tbs Thyme
  • 1/2 Tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 Tsp Cumin
  • 28 Parsley leafs Sprigs
  • 3/4 Parmesan Cheese Italian Blend works great
  • 1 Cup Bread Crumbs
  • 1/2 Tsp Garlic Salt
  • 1 Tbs Sea Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper To Taste
  • Half of one Dried Ancho Chili Pepper
  • 1 or 2 Eggs

Tomato Sauce

  • 24 oz Can of San Marzano Tomatoes
  • 12 oz Can of Fire Roast Tomatoes with Basil and Garlic ( If you can't find just use Fire Roasted tomatoes
  • 3/4 of One Onion Helps to puree in a food processor
  • 1 Poblano Pepper de-seeded and Ribbed ( Helps to puree in a food processor with the Onion)
  • 1 Tbs Fine Sugar
  • 1 Tbs Sea Salt
  • 1/2 Tbs Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbs Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 Tsp Dried Thyme


Making the Flavor Base

  • In a food processor add;
  • Half of One Onion,Tbs Minced Garlic, 2 Tbs Dry Oregano, 1/2 Tbs Thyme, 1/2 Tsp Smoked Paprika, 1/2 Tsp Cumin, 1/2 Tsp Garlic Salt, 14 Parsley ( Leaves-Sprigs ), Half of one Dried Ancho Chili Pepper
  • Blend/Pulse till you have a smooth mixture

Combining Ingredients

  • In a large mixing bowl add one or two Eggs with 1/2 Tbs Minced Garlic and whip together.
  • Next step add in your Base/Paste mixture and combine together.
  • Add the Chuck and Sirloin Beef and lightly break up, next add Bread Crumbs, Cheese, Salt & Pepper and additional chopped Parsley ( 14 Leafs- Sprigs ) ( Chopped )
  • Combine ingredients, take your time and try to not over work the Beef.

Shaping the Meatballs

  • Add a portion into the palm of your hand and start rolling around in your hands till you reach a shape you like. Using the heat from your hands to help seal the Meatballs ( Your hands give off enough heat to melt a small amount of the fat in the Beef ) Happens while shaping naturally

Making the Tomato Sauce

  • In a food processor add onion and poblano pepper and puree into a paste
  • Transfer paste into pot at medium high heat and sweat for 2-3 minutes
  • Add in all of the tomatoes with herbs, sugar & salt + pepper
  • Cook for at least one hour, longer helps deepen the flavor


Tomato Sauce - Once you add your onion and poblano pepper into the pot heated to medium high, for greater flavor add into 1/2 cup of your favorite red wine and cook off the alcohol. About 3 minutes. Next add in 2 to 3 Tbs of tomato paste.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Mouth Watering Italian Meatballs with a Twist

slow cooker beef ribs

Chef Steven Pennington

Chef Steven Pennington

Content Creator

Le Cordon Bleu Chef sharing food adventures from around the world with a style of cooking rooted in southwestern flavors using French culinary technique.