Old School Brooklyn: Grandma's Meatballs / by Anthony Michael Contrino

Meatballs are a staple at any Italian-American table on Sundays.  Everyone thinks that their grandma makes the best meatballs - mine did!  They were always super tender and falling apart in her Sunday sauce.  While these will hold up better, they're just as good.  By using a microplane to grate the garlic and onion, you can infuse the flavor without having chunks in the finished product.  Don't be afraid to sear the meatballs really well.  The sauce will soften the exterior as it finishes cooking them.  



Makes 16 meatballs


1 pound ground beef, (80/20 blend)

1/2 pound ground pork

2 eggs

1/2 cup whole milk

1 cup Italian breadcrumbs

4 gloves garlic, grated with a microplane

1/2 yellow onion, grated with a microplane

1/3 cup parsley, chopped finely

1/4 cup pecorino, grated

1/4 cup parmesan, grated

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

Vegetable oil, for frying


In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix, gently, by hand, until they are thoroughly mixed.  Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.  

Meanwhile, fill a large, high-sided skillet with a half-inch of vegetable oil, and bring to frying temperature.   Portion the meat into 16 equal portions.  Gently roll each portion into a ball, being sure not to pack the meat too tight.  Cook the meatballs in batches, flipping when the bottom has seared.  Sear the other side and then remove from the hot oil.  Drain on a plate lined with paper towels.  Cook the meatballs in sauce for 30 minutes to cook through before serving.  



•Do not overwork the meat when mixing.

•You can test your oil to make sure it's hot enough by dropping a small piece of meat into it.  When ready, the oil will bubble vigorously around the meat.

•If you pack the meatballs too tight, they will be dense.

•Carefully flip the meatballs with a fork.  They are extremely fragile and will break if handled roughly.

•You can freeze the meatballs after they’ve been seared for later use.  Just defrost and cook for an hour in sauce before serving.