Mama’s Meatballs

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Total Servings
Calories Per Serving
44 g
Fat Per Serving

Marinara Sauce Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, crushed through a press

2 tablespoons finely chopped yellow onion

¾ teaspoon tomato paste

½ (16-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

1 (16-ounce) can tomato puree

¼ cup chicken stock

1½ cups water

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Marinara Sauce Directions

  1. In a saucepot, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. 
  2. Add the garlic and onion and cook until the garlic is tender and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. 
  3. Add the tomato paste and cook for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato puree, chicken stock, and water to the pot and stir to combine. 
  5. Bring to a simmer, add a pinch of red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. If the sauce is too thin, simmer uncovered for 2 to 3 minutes. If the sauce is too thick, add a little water. The sauce should be fairly thin and very smooth, but not watery

Meatballs Ingredients

½ pound ground beef

½ pound ground pork

½ pound ground veal

¼ yellow onion, roughly chopped

¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 clove garlic, peeled but whole

⅓ cup chicken stock

⅓ cup well-crushed store-bought Parmesan crisps (such as Whisps)

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon sea salt

½ – 1 cup grapeseed oil, to cook the meatballs, or another neutral oil (soybean or vegetable oil will work)

Olive oil or avocado oil cooking spray, if roasting the meatballs

Optional Garnish:
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Red pepper flakes

Finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat a sheet pan with cooking spray, if roasting the meatballs. Place ground meats in a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a food processor or blender, combine the onion, parsley, garlic and chicken stock and puree. Transfer the mixture to the large bowl of meats and add the crisps, eggs, Parmigiano, pepper flakes and salt. Mix with your hands until just combined, being careful not to overmix.
  3. Grease your hands with olive oil and form the mixture into balls a little smaller than golf balls. You can also use an ice cream scoop. This will make about 12-15 balls.
  4. Place a large skillet over medium high heat with a generous drizzle of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the meatballs to the pan (working in batches, if necessary) and brown the meatballs well on each side. This will take a few minutes per side. When they are brown, lift out with a slotted spoon and gently place in the marinara sauce to ensure they are just about covered. Bring back to a simmer and at that point, they are just about done. If you want to make sure they are cooked through, a thermometer inserted in the middle should read 140 degrees. You can also break one open and make sure it is cooked through.
  5. If using the oven: Arrange the meatballs on the sheet pan and bake until browned, at least 18 and up to 20 minutes. Transfer the finished meatballs to the marinara sauce and bring back to a simmer and at that point, they are just about done.
  6. Garnish with additional Parmigiano, red pepper flakes, and parsley, if desired.


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