I don't think I've ever met a person who doesn't like these meatballs. My daughter - who could sometimes be quite picky - has loved them since she was old enough to chew, even requesting them for two of her birthday party meals when she was just teeny-tiny (be still my heart). I made my classic meatball recipe once, years ago, on a night each of my kids had a friend sleeping over (it wasn't as scary as it sounds). 4 kids with clean plates: if that doesn't sell my recipe I don't know what will.
Unsurprisingly, I always make my meatballs a little differently, but I finally wrote down my ingredients both for the meatballs and the quick marinara, and I actually used measuring devices this time! This is my "classic" version. By that I mean it's just a really good, moist, flavorful Italian meatball. Comforting and familiar - the kind of food people want to eat.
I often make my classic meatballs with turkey to lighten things up, or for my friends who don't eat pork. There are some great Italian turkey sausages out there, and you're not sacrificing any flavor if you choose to use turkey, but these are the real deal: beef, pork, and Italian sausage. You can substitute whatever meat you like, just make sure the total amounts are the same: two pounds of turkey, one pound of turkey Italian sausage; two pounds beef, one pound sausage; you get the idea. I really, really like the sausage addition - turkey or pork. It adds so much flavor and moisture, but if you aren't a fan of sausage you could omit it and just replace it with a pound of something else. Use this recipe as a guideline, and experiment to find your classic.
This classic meatball recipe makes a lot.
But let me explain why and what to do with the extra. Because I like this meat combo, and it's kind of hard to find any ground meat in less than 1 pound packages, I just go for it and make a huge batch. I cook what I need, and freeze the rest on sheet trays, then transfer them to resealable plastic bags (just like freezing cookie dough!). They are a great thing to have in my arsenal, and I cook them right from the freezer - either browning them slowly or adding them straight to simmering sauce. That's my kind of frozen convenience food.
A funny thing about this recipe - most meatball recipes, really - is that it's basically a meatloaf. You could take this exact mixture, form it into a loaf (or two) and bake it: Italian meatloaf! I've done it and I promise it works. I've also made little burger patties and made sandwiches for my kids! So versatile. That's how I cook, and how my mind works in the kitchen. I love having recipes, but I really love when I can let my imagination loose on them. Here's my recipe; I hope you love it. xo - AnitaPrint