Italian Sausage Meatballs

ImageI could eat spaghetti and meatballs every night of the week. Of course my laundry bill would be astronomical. There are cleaning products for removing every possible stain including wine, coffee, ink and blood, but no one has invented a product to remove spaghetti sauce stains. Not yet anyway.

This recipe came about as part of my effort to "eat down the freezer." I had a package of two Italian sausages and some ground beef on hand, but neither were really enough to make a meal. The secret to these meatballs is a combination of pork and beef and also what you use to stretch the meat, plenty of bread and milk. The bread and milk create a very tender texture. Italian sausages have lots of seasoning and fat so you really don't need to add much more in that department though some fresh herbs are nice. I do like using dehydrated toasted onion flakes. I get them from Penzey's and they are great in dishes like this where normally I would want to saute fresh onions. They have good flavor and are a real time saver.

Another trick to this recipe is baking the meatballs instead of frying them. I used to bake them on a lined baking sheet, but they were always flat on the bottom. Now I use the non-stick rack and they are perfectly round! If you don't have a sheet pan with a non-stick rack, I highly recommend you get one. As you can see, they are very useful for much more than just cooling cookies!

Italian Sausage Meatballs
Makes 16 meatballs, 4-5 servings

1/2 pound Italian sausages, casings removed
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 Tablespoon dehydrated toasted onion flakes
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
3 Tablespoons fresh Italian herbs, chopped (such as parsley, basil, oregano) or 3 teaspoons dried Italian herbs
Spaghetti sauce, jarred or homemade

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl gently combine the sausage and beef. Add the bread crumbs, onion, egg, milk and herbs. Combine using your hands, but try not to handle the meat too much. Form into about 16 meatballs. I do this by dividing the mixture into 4 portions and then dividing each portion into another 4 portions.

Place meatballs on a non-stick rack, set in a foil-lined sheet pan and bake undisturbed for 20 minutes. Meanwhile simmer spaghetti sauce in a large dutch oven. Remove meatballs and transfer to the simmering sauce, allow meatballs to cook in the sauce for 10-20 minutes. Serve with pasta or use in a meatball sandwich.


Also published on Cooking with Amy

Amy Sherman is a San Francisco–based writer, recipe developer, restaurant reviewer and all around culinary enthusiast. She blogs for Epicurious , Bay Area Bites and Cooking with Amy.