I Re-created My Grandma’s Secret Meatball Recipe

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I Re-created My Grandma’s Secret Meatball Recipe


My Italian grandmother is famous for her meatball recipe. But would I be able to re-create the masterpiece? I gave myself a lazy Sunday afternoon to try it out!

Every summer our family would make our way south to visit my grandparents in Florida. We’d spend the mornings adventuring and playing in the pool. In the afternoon my sisters and I, fresh from the pool, would tiptoe into our grandma’s kitchen and watch the magic of her meatball recipe unfold.

My grandma has perfected just about every recipe her own mother handed down, but our all-time favorite was her meatballs. I can remember countless Sunday dinners, starving from a long day of swimming and playing, when the entire table was quiet as we spooned as many meatballs onto our plates as possible. I didn’t know if I’d be able to re-create that family meal magic, but I had to try, and this is how it went…

My Grandma’s Secret Recipe for Meatballs

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 to 2 slices of day-old bread
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

Carrie Madormo for Taste of Home

Initial Thoughts

Is this actually my grandmother’s recipe? It’s tough to say, as she never measured any of her ingredients in all the years I watched her cook. The notes I wrote down while attempting to capture this recipe include quite a few pinches of this and dashes of that. Carefully measuring each ingredientwas not how my grandma rolled in the kitchen. Fortunately, I like to think that I take after my grandma and rarely measure as I cook. That tactic doesn’t help me in the baking department, but it’s the only way to make these meatballs.

Mix the Base

One of my favorite things about making these meatballs is that they are so simple. Start by preparing your ingredients to make the process even quicker. Tear your slices of bread into small pieces. Feel free to use any bread you like; I usually opt for a hearty Italian loaf. Place the ground beef and bread in a medium bowl and soak both in water. I let this mixture sit while I chopped the remaining ingredients.

I then chopped the garlic, onion, and fresh parsley and placed them in a large mixing bowl. I cracked both eggs into the bowl and whisked the ingredients together with the salt, pepper and Parmesan. When it was time to add the ground beef mixture, it was pretty messy. I scooped it into my large mixing bowl with my hands, then drained the remaining water.

Here are more meatball-making pointers from Grandma.

Carrie Madormo for Taste of Home

The Outcome

Thank you, Grandma! Naturally, they didn’t taste exactly like hers, but these meatballs are bursting with juicy, savory flavor. They’re also incredibly tender and go well with any type of pasta or crusty bread you like. Fresh ingredients like garlic and parsley really make the flavor pop while saving you a trip down the spice aisle during your grocery trip. The Parmesan also comes through in each bite.


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