For as long as we can remember, Nana always calls to ask what recipes we’d like her to include on the menu whenever we’re planning to visit. In true Nana-fashion, she keeps a collection of everyone’s most beloved recipes and makes sure whatever our hearts desire is on the menu during our stay. Shannon always requests scungilli and angel hair, Jenna has to have her taco soup and our mom doesn’t care about the rest of the menu as long as she has Nana’s homemade Italian meatballs. Honestly, we can’t think of anything Nana makes that we don’t like, but it makes the visit that much more special when she specifically personalizes the menu to match our favorite recipes of hers. While we’ve shared her recipes before and still have so many to write about, today we’re sharing mom’s favorite – Nana’s meatballs.
The Secret to Nana’s Homemade Italian Meatballs
While homemade is often associated with labor-intensive, we can assure you, this recipe is not! Simply seasoned with fresh Italian herbs and spices, the key to these tasty meatballs is to cook them “low and slow”. Prepare your meatballs in the late morning and let them cook in your sauce (“gravy” as Nana would call it) for several hours (the longer the better) on low. Your house will slowly fill with an Italian aroma leaving everyone eager to dig in at the sound of the dinner bell.
How to Serve Nana’s Homemade Italian Meatballs
One of the best things about Nana’s homemade Italian meatballs is that they can be served several different ways. And it doesn’t matter which way you choose, they’re always delicious! Here are our favorite ways to serve them:
- In a red sauce with angel hair pasta (although, any pasta will do)
- On an Italian hoagie roll (but, any sub is just as good)
- On biscuits or rolls as sliders (melt some mozzarella on top!)
- Alone (they really don’t need any accompaniment)
- On skewers or toothpicks for dipping (just make them a tad smaller)
- Sliced or chopped on a pizza
- Sliced or chopped in lasagna
- Sliced or chopped in baked ziti
How to Make Nana’s Homemade Italian Meatballs
What you Need
To create this simple recipe, you’ll need the following:
How to Prepare
The key to mixing this recipe is combining the wet ingredients and dry ingredients separately and adding the breadcrumbs to the mixture last.
In a small bowl, mix the milk and eggs and set aside. In a separate small bowl, combine the parmesan cheese, garlic, parsley, basil, salt, and pepper. In a large bowl, mix together the ground meat(s) and combined dry ingredients. Add the egg and milk mixture to the meat mixture and blend by hand until smooth. When blending by hand, it’s best to squish the ingredients together. Once the ingredients are well mixed, add the breadcrumbs and mix until evenly blended. Roll meat mixture into desired size meatballs. Note, the larger the meatball, the longer it will take to cook. Add meatballs to pasta sauce on stovetop and cook on low for 4-6 hours until fully cooked.
Nana's Homemade Italian Meatballs Recipe
- 1 1/2 lbs ground beef (Optional: Use 1 lb ground beef + 1/2 lb ground pork or veal (or 1/4 lb both))
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 large egg, beaten (or 2 small eggs)
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 clove garlic, crushed or minced
- 2 Tbsp parsley, minced
- 1 tsp basil
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
- In a small bowl, mix all wet ingredients together including milk and eggs and set aside.
- In a separate small bowl, combine all dry ingredients (except breadcrumbs) including the parmesan cheese, garlic, parsley, basil, salt, and pepper.
- In a large bowl, mix together the ground meat(s) and combined dry ingredients.
- Add the egg and milk mixture to the meat mixture and blend by hand until smooth.
- After all of the ingredients are well mixed, add the breadcrumbs and mix until evenly blended.
- Roll meat mixture into desired size meatballs.
- Add meatballs to pasta sauce on stovetop and cook on low for 4-6 hours or until fully cooked.