The perfect Italian meatballs

Yahoo Lifestyle

Inspired by his grandfather, Fabio Viviani gives tricks and tips on how to chose the right meat to make his famous meatballs and then makes a simple meatball using basic ground beef served up in his marinara sauce.

[See also: The perfect tomato sauce]

Cook time: 25 Minutes

Makes: 8 meatballs

1 lb. ground beef (90/10)
4 oz. whole milk ricotta cheese
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 egg
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste
fresh parsley for garnish


1. Place all above ingredients in a medium sized bowl and mix thoroughly by hand until they are completely combined and the mixture is uniformly firm.

2. Coat your hands in olive oil, and using your hands form mixture into 3-4 oz. balls

3. Drop the meatballs into Fabio's tomato sauce and add some water so that the sauce can reduce and simmer. Let cook for about 10 minutes on one side.

4. Turn them over, add some more water and cook for another 10 minutes, covering in the sauce with a spoon as they simmer.

5. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

6. Garnish with chopped parsley, salt and pepper, more shaved parmegiano reggiano and a drizzle of olive oil, of course!

Tips and secrets:

  • Don't waste expensive cuts of meat on meatballs! If prepared correctly, a cheaper cut of meat, beef shoulder, chuck and scraps will make a perfect meatball.
  • The perfect texture and flavour in an Italian meatballs is achieved using ricotta cheese, parmesan, one egg and panko breadcrumbs very well integrated into the seasoned meat. In a pinch, crumbled stale bread may be substituted for panko. Easy!
  • Coat your hands with olive oil to form perfect meatballs easily.
  • Meatballs cook best in a simple tomato sauce.
  • Once the meatballs are cooking in the sauce, add water to it. As the water evaporates, the steam will cook your meatballs perfectly.
  • Let the meatballs sear at the bottom of the sauce pan and rotate them to finish, adding more water to steam the second side as it reduces.
  • Cover the meatballs in a marinara sauce "blanket" as they cook to seal in more flavour.

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