The basic steps to making these meatballs are as follows: 1) Make a panade. Soaking bread or store bought crumbs in milk then adding to the meat makes a huge difference. A panade makes meat melt-in-your-mouth moist and tender. 2) Saute your aromatics. Onion, garlic, parsley, and basil become soft, fragrant, and flavorful when sautéed in EVOO, cooled, and added to the meat mixture. 3). Shape the meatballs. Although it takes longer to make them, I prefer smaller meatballs. They don’t take as long to cook through, and my kids prefer the miniature size.
The meat mixture is an equal combination of ground chuck and ground pork. I have experimented with various meat combinations, even once using beef/pork/veal. The half pork half beef combo has been the most tender and flavorful so far.
The original recipe calls for pan frying the meatballs before baking them, but I skipped this step, choosing to bake them until done and finish with a quick broil to get a rustic, slightly crisp exterior. If you prefer more tender, smooth meatballs, simply bake them until a meat thermometer registers at least 165.
I serve these meatballs over spaghetti pasta, sprinkled with parmesan, and topped with my best marinara sauce. Delicious! Any leftover meatballs can be stored in a ziploc, covered with marinara, and reheated in individual portions in the microwave.