Hello and happy Saturday! I hope you’re enjoying a hot cup of coffee and some extra time off this weekend. I also hope you’re in the mood for meatballs because that’s what’s on the menu today. Meatballs are one of my most beloved comfort foods. They remind me of my family and always taste like home.
These meatballs are a combination of my Sicilian family’s traditional recipe along with a few tricks I picked up along the way. I know a lot of people say this, but these are the best meatballs ever. Don’t believe me? You’ll just have to make them for yourself.
Before we get to the goods, lets address the elephant. As you may or may not have noticed, I’ve been on a hiatus these past few weeks. Thanks to a little smoothie shop called Soulberri, I’ve been a bit preoccupied and it’s forced me to step back from a few things in life, namely blogging (also: cooking, gardening, seeing my friends, and general r&r). I’ve missed it for sure, but it’s also given me a chance to look at things from a different perspective and reevaluate what I’ve been doing.
Through this process I’ve begun to realize that the routine of creating recipes, photos, and videos has become lackluster and robotic. Two years ago, when I started blogging full time, I set a goal to post twice a week – once with a regular long-format blog, and once with a video – and gave myself strict deadlines. I stuck with it and managed to create a pretty fat catalog of content as a result. I’m super proud of that.
But lately I’ve been struggling to find inspiration, and consequentially many of my posts have been feeling a bit… forced. I’ve found myself pressing the post button even when I’m not totally thrilled with the content; be it my writing, my photos, my videos, and sometimes, admittedly, even my recipes. That is all wrong and totally the opposite of why I started blogging in the first place. It has to stop, and starting today, it will.
Moving forward, you can expect the unexpected. What I mean by that is you won’t find me posting every Tuesday and Friday like I used to. My posts will come only when I have the time, energy, and inspiration to create something I’m truly excited to share. I hope that happens more often than not, but the future is uncertain. One thing I can promise is that they won’t be forced. Ever.
I also decided to change up my video format. Well, maybe. I’d like to see what you guys think before committing. This is the first of two videos I shot in a newer, longer format. Typically I try to keep my videos under two minutes because people have short attention spans and like to get information quickly. I’m no different. I get it!
With that said, it’s nearly impossible to fit everything I want to say about a recipe into that short amount of time. I leave out stories, tips, and so much important information solely to keep the videos brief. Take my pie crust video for example. It’s so rushed that you can barely follow along, thus defeating the whole purpose. This self-imposed time constraint also forces me to deliver a pre-written and rehearsed set of words that can come off as contrived and inauthentic. I’m over that.
So, I have two options (three if you count hiring someone to shoot and edit the videos for me but that’s not an actual option rn): Start making videos like the ones you see on Facebook that have no personality, just a set of hands creating a recipe set to music. Or, start making longer videos comprised of me standing in a kitchen and cooking in real time. I’m much too vain to go with the first option, so I’m testing out the latter and I’d love to get your opinion.
As for the meatballs… you’ll just have to watch the video to see what they’re all about. If you can’t take the 15 minutes needed to watch all the way through, I understand. You can just skip to the recipe below. All I ask is that you leave me a little feedback… Please refrain from anything harsh and trolly (because I have fragile feelings and I already know I say um a lot and there are too many jump cuts). A few honest and kind words regarding the length, style, and overall content would be most helpful. After all, I’m not making these videos for me, so without your input I’m just shooting in the dark.
Quality over quantity. This is something I’ve always felt strongly about and will be my motto moving forward. I value you as a reader and want to provide something you’ll always look forward to reading, watching, and of course, tasting. I’d love to hear from you. In the meantime, enjoy your meatballs.
- 1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs (or about the equivalent in roughly torn stale bread)
- 1/2 cup whole Milk (you can sub half and half or water), plus more as needed
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 small onion
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup grated cheese (pecorino Romano or parmesan), plus more for garnish
- 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh parsley
- 1 1/2 pounds ground meat (50% beef, 25% pork, 25% veal, or whichever combination of meats you prefer)
- tomato sauce
- ricotta, for serving (optional)
- basil, for serving (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and milk. Use a microplane grater to finely grate in the garlic and onion (you want about 1 1/2 - 2 teaspoons of onion pulp).
- Add the salt, egg, grated cheese, and parsley, then use your fingers to mix until everything is combined and smooth. If the breadcrumbs and milk have seized up and gotten hard, add a few splashes of milk until it loosens enough to easily mix.
- Add the meat and mix with your hands until the breadcrumbs are evenly distributed and the mixture is relatively homogeneous. Be careful not to overmix or it will cause the meatballs to become tough.
- Wet your hands and form the meat into whatever size balls you desire - I like them to be about 1/4 cup big. Space them out evenly on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake for about 7 minutes, then turn to the other side and bake for an additional 7 minutes. The meatballs should be nicely browned on two sides. While the meatballs are baking, prepare your sauce or have it heating up on the stove.
- Place the meatballs directly into the sauce after cooking. Simmer on the lowest heat setting possible for approximately 1 hour. If you need to keep them for longer, turn off the heat and just let them sit in the sauce until ready to serve, then gently bring them back up to temperature.
- Serve meatballs with extra sauce, a sprinkle of cheese, a dollop of ricotta and a sprig of fresh basil. I like to serve them with a salad, but pasta is of course always an option.