For the meatballs:
- 1/2 pound of ground beef
- 1/2 pound of ground sausage
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 2 large egg
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1/2 onion chopped small
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried parsley)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon of wine
For the sauce (optional):
- 1 can (14 ounces/400g) crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/2 cup beef or chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, onion, breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, milk, egg, minced garlic, chopped parsley, dried oregano, salt, and black pepper. Use your hands to mix everything together until well combined. Avoid overmixing, as it can make the meatballs tough.
Once the mixture is well combined, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. This step helps the flavors to meld and makes it easier to shape the meatballs.
Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease it.
Take the meatball mixture out of the refrigerator. With wet hands, start shaping the mixture into meatballs. You can make them any size you prefer, but a golf ball size is common. Place the shaped meatballs on the prepared baking sheet, leaving some space between each meatball.
Once all the meatballs are shaped and on the baking sheet, bake them in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until they are cooked through and nicely browned on the outside.
While the meatballs are baking, you can prepare the sauce (if desired). In a saucepan, combine the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, beef or chicken broth, dried basil, and dried oregano. Stir well and bring the sauce to a simmer. Let it cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Once the meatballs are done baking, you can either add them directly to the sauce and let them simmer together for a few minutes, or you can serve the sauce on the side for dipping.
Serve the meatballs hot, with pasta, rice, mashed potatoes, or on a sub roll for a delicious meatball sandwich. Garnish with additional chopped parsley and grated Parmesan cheese if desired.
Enjoy your homemade meatballs! They make for a satisfying and comforting meal that the whole family will love.
The history of meatballs dates back thousands of years and is found in various cultures across the world. The concept of combining ground meat with other ingredients to form a ball-like shape has been a practical and delicious way to utilize leftover or less desirable cuts of meat. While it is challenging to pinpoint the exact origin, here is an overview of the history of meatballs:
1. Ancient Origins: The concept of meatballs can be traced back to ancient civilizations. In China, around 2200 BC, cooked and seasoned meatballs known as "rougan" were prepared and consumed. Ancient Greeks also had a dish called "isicia omentata," which was a mix of ground meat, bread, and wine. Romans had similar recipes for meatballs known as "bulbitas."
2. Middle Ages: As trade routes expanded and culinary influences spread, the idea of meatballs reached different parts of the world. In the Middle East, dishes like "kofta" became popular, which are essentially spiced meatballs, and they continue to be enjoyed in various forms in countries like India, Pakistan, and other South Asian regions.
3. Medieval Europe: Meatballs continued to evolve in Europe during the medieval period. They were often made with ground meat mixed with breadcrumbs, spices, and other ingredients. The Spanish had "albondigas," while the Swedes developed their famous "Swedish meatballs," often served with a creamy gravy.
4. Italian Influence: Italy's culinary contributions include "polpette," which are meatballs typically made with beef or a mixture of beef and pork. These meatballs are often flavored with garlic, Parmesan cheese, and herbs like parsley and oregano. "Polpette" are commonly served with pasta or as part of other Italian dishes.
5. American Adaptations: The influx of immigrants to the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries brought diverse culinary traditions, including meatballs. Italian-Americans, in particular, popularized spaghetti and meatballs, a dish that quickly became a staple in many American households.
6. Modern Variations: As global travel and cultural exchange continued, meatball recipes evolved and adapted to local tastes and ingredients. Today, you can find an incredible variety of meatball recipes from around the world, made with different meats (beef, pork, chicken, lamb, fish) and often featuring unique combinations of herbs, spices, and sauces.
In conclusion, the history of meatballs is a testament to the creativity and resourcefulness of people throughout history. These humble yet flavorful balls of meat have transcended borders and cultures, becoming a beloved and versatile dish enjoyed by countless people worldwide.
Meatballs, typically made from ground meat, provide several health benefits. They are a rich source of protein, essential for muscle maintenance and growth. Meatballs also offer vital nutrients like iron, zinc, and B vitamins. However, the choice of meat and preparation method can affect their healthiness. Lean meats and healthier cooking techniques like baking or grilling can lower saturated fat content. Incorporating whole grains and vegetables into the recipe can make meatballs a balanced part of a nutritious diet. Enjoyed in moderation, they offer a delicious and protein-packed option that complements a well-rounded eating plan.
How Well Do You Know Meatballs?
1. What is the main ingredient used to make meatballs?
a) Ground chicken
b) Ground beef
2. Which country is believed to be the birthplace of meatballs?
b) United States
3. What is the purpose of adding breadcrumbs to meatball mixture?
a) To make them crispy
b) To bind the ingredients together
c) To add flavor
d) To make them healthier
4. What shape are traditional Italian meatballs usually formed into?
5. Which type of meat is commonly used to make Swedish meatballs?
d) Beef and pork mixture
6. What is the famous sauce often served with Swedish meatballs?
a) Tomato sauce
b) Alfredo sauce
d) Pesto sauce
7. In which cuisine are "Kofta" meatballs commonly found?
8. Which ingredient is used to give Greek "Keftedes" meatballs their distinct flavor?
9. Which of the following meatball variations is suitable for vegetarians?
a) Chicken meatballs
b) Beef meatballs
c) Lentil meatballs
d) Lamb meatballs
10. What is the name of the popular Italian dish that features meatballs served with tomato sauce and spaghetti?
b) Fettuccine Alfredo
c) Spaghetti and meatballs
1. b) Ground beef
2. a) Italy
3. b) To bind the ingredients together
4. a) Spheres
5. d) Beef and pork mixture
6. c) Gravy
7. a) Indian
8. a) Cinnamon
9. c) Lentil meatballs
10. c) Spaghetti and meatballs