Grandma’s Italian Meatballs

Grandma's Meatballs

Grandma's Meatballs

So yesterday, you (hopefully) made the sauce now today you make the meatballs! We may not be Italian by blood, but we think that we could definitely make any Italian Grandma happy with these deliciously moist meatballs.

Now, a little history on the meatball. In Italy, meatballs aren’t actually called meatballs. In Italy they’re called polpettes,  and are normally eaten by themselves as a full meal or in soups and are made with any kind of meat ranging from fish to turkey. If you see spaghetti and meatballs on a Italian menu, it’s likely there to cater towards American tourists.

Come to think of it, neither of us can actually remember encountering spaghetti and meatballs on our Italian trip last year!

Pellegrino Artusi who was a Florentine silk merchant in his early days and retired and followed his passion for food, cooking, recipes and travel. In 1891 Pellegrino published the first modern Italian cookbook and was dubbed the father of Italian Cuisine’. His cookbook which was titled (in English) ‘The Science of Cooking and the Art of Eating Well: A Practical Manual for Families.”

In this book he brought together a lot of regional Italian cuisines and made them accessible for all. He was also the first to write for the home chef and make cooking easy for all. He talks about the Polpettes in the book and said “Don’t think I’m pretentious enough to teach you how to make meatballs. This is a dish that everybody can make, starting with the donkey.”

So how did Polpettes become what we know as meatballs? The Italians came to America and were able to spend more money on food. They went from spending 75 % of their income on food to only 25%, and meat which went from being a rare luxury, to a every day staple.


  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup bread crumbs, divided into half cups

Step 1:

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Step 2:

In a medium bowl mix together onions, basil, parsley, garlic powder, salt red pepper flakes and 1/2 cup of bread crumbs. Grate in the parmesan and mix together.

Step 3: 

In a large bowl, mix together both meats gently, hehe. Add the breadcrumbs mixture and again gently incorporate the meat and breadcrumb mixtures.

Step 4: 

Put the remaining 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs into a bowl. Weigh out 1.5 oz balls and then coat them with breadcrumbs in the bowl. Place on mini muffin pan holes. hehe.

Step 5:

Bake for about 20 minutes, more if they are still pink in the center. If you want to finish the meatballs in the sauce for a few minutes afterwards. EAT THEM!

Grandma's Meatballs

We dedicate this post to our Grandmas who are no longer with us, but we think about all the time. Especially when we’re in the Kitchen .

Christie with her Mom and Grandma Prieto
grandma 2

Christie and Marlee with Grandma Alyce Hunka in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

grandma 3Marlee with her Grandma Parrish in Texas.


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