Teresa’s Meatballs Recipe

Prep Time Cook Time Serves
15m 40m Makes 40 golf ball sized meatballs

Introduced to me by my Italian friend, Teresa, this meatballs recipe is the perfect standby dinner. They can be made and kept in the freezer and when you are ready to eat just pull out the number of meatballs you want. The best part is that kids love these meatballs so that means one less battle at the end of your day!

These meatballs are of the softer variety. It is the way they are supposed to be. Growing up in Sorrento, Teresa told me that bread was a way to bulk up the meatballs in an economic way. You could feed more mouths and spend less. If you prefer a firmer meatball though, just reduce the amount of bread you use.


For the meatballs:
  • 9 ounces stale bread, without crust (use an Italian loaf if you can find it)
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 cup grated parmigiano
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
For the sugo:
  • 32 ounces tomato passata or canned diced tomato
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 3 whole fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt


Watch as Teresa teaches me how to make her meatballs!



Place the bread into a large bowl. Pour about 2 cups of water into the bowl and let it sit for about 2 minutes to allow the bread to soak up the water. After 2 minutes, squeeze out the water from the bread and crumble it into another large empty bowl. Add all the other ingredients for the meatballs and mix with your hands until everything is evenly distributed. Form into meatballs about the size of golf balls and set aside.

Combine all of the ingredients for the sugo in a wide, low-rimmed pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat and then lower to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

After the 20 minutes, add the meatballs in one layer to the pot of simmering sugo. After 10 minutes, turn the meatballs over and cook for another 10 minutes. You can serve the meatballs immediately or reheat later. Serve on their own or with spaghetti*.

*with spaghetti is apparently the way the Southern Italians would do it!



A great tip with these meatballs is to freeze the ones you are not going to use right away. Right after you form them, place the raw meatballs on a cookie sheet. Put in the freezer for a couple of hours or until the meatballs are frozen through. Transfer to a Ziploc bag and keep in the freezer until ready to eat.

To cook the frozen meatballs, heat your sugo until it is beginning to boil (you want it hotter than just a low simmer). Drop the desired number of frozen meatballs into the sugo and leave to cook for 15 minutes. Turn the meatballs and cook for another 15 minutes.

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