Italian Meatballs Recipe

  • Servings : 6-8
  • Prep Time : 30m
  • Cook Time : 30m
  • Ready In : 60m


  • 600 grams of minced lamb
  • 2/3 cup of milk
  • 3 slices of white/brown bread, crusts removed
  • 2 tablespoons of ricotta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons of grated parmesan
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano or thyme
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced or 1 teaspoon of chili garlic paste
  • 1 cup of flour for dusting
  • 1/3 cup olive oil for frying the meatballs
  • Salt
  • Black pepper to taste

Tomato Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2  chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or 1 teaspoon of chili garlic paste
  • 2 cans of crushed or whole tomatoes, including the juice, or 500 grams of fresh tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil or 2 tablespoons of fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of tomato paste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Tomato sauce

  1. Firstly prepare the tomato sauce to simmer while you prepare the meatballs.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan (that has a lid) on medium heat. Add the carrots and let that cook for few minutes and then add the onions and once the onion is caramelised then add the parsley and stir to coat with the oil, reduce the heat to low and cover the pan with the lid. Cook for around 5 – 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft and cooked through. Remove the lid, add the garlic or the chili garlic paste and stir and cook for a minute or so and then add the tomato paste and stir well so that the tomato paste is absorbed into the vegetables.
  3. Add the tomatoes (if using whole canned then chop it finely before you add it) and the basil.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and let that boil on medium to high heat.  Once the tomatoes are boiling bring down the heat to a low to simmer with the lid covered while you prepare the meatballs.  It should simmer for around 25 to 30 minutes. If you want a smooth consistency for your tomato sauce then you can purée in a blender before adding the meatballs.


  1. Put the milk in a small saucepan and heat until steamy. Remove the crusts of the bread and tear it into little pieces, remove the milk from the heat and soak it in the milk and mash it well. Turn it out into a large bowl that you are going to make the meatballs in.
  2. Once the bread mixture is cool, add in the minced lamb, ricotta cheese, grated parmesan, eggs, parsley, oregano or thyme, black pepper, salt, garlic or the chili garlic paste.  Mix it well with your hands for few minutes.  Don’t knead it just mix it well.
  3. Put some flour in a plate and have some paper towel near you in case you need to clean your hands during making meatballs. The meatballs should be the size of a golf ball but you can make it smaller or bigger as you wish.  If you are going to serve these with pasta then small size is better but if you are going to serve with rice or bread then bigger size is better.  Roll the meatball in your hands, roll it in the flour to give it a good coating and put it on big tray as you make all the meatballs.
  4. Once you ready all the meatballs, heat olive oil in a large skillet pan over medium-high heat until the oil is steamy.  Brown the meatballs on both sides. The meatballs are not meant to be cooked just browned on both sides.  This should be 30 – 60 seconds on each side.
  5. Make sure you brown both sides of each meatball before adding them into the tomato sauce.  Once all the meatballs are ready, arrange them in the tomato sauce and make sure you turn them once so that both sides are covered in the sauce. Cover the pot with the lid and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes.
  6. You can serve the meatballs with the sauce with rice, pasta or crusty bread.
  7. Enjoy.

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Recipe Comments

Comments (2)

  1. posted by Olcay Mimoglu on May 4, 2014

    Today I was looking for a nice but at the same time easy to make Sunday dinner recipe . When I read your Italian Meatballs recipe I thought I must try it. It took me about an hour to cook but it was so worth it because my girls absolutely loved it. They have enjoyed their dinner so much. I have cook it with tangallita pasta my little girl said meatballs was melting in her mouth.
    Thank you for this delicious recipe it will definitely be one our favourite dish.

    • posted by Dilek Kahraman on May 4, 2014

      Thank you very much for letting me know. It’s always nice to hear from those that try my recipes and especially when they enjoy the ultimate result.


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