Traditional Meatballs { Italian-American Recipe}

Traditional Meatballs are a deliciously tender and flavorful recipe that will have your meatball fans coming back each time for more. These meatballs are made with love out of lean ground beef, quality ground pork, breadcrumbs, Pecorino Romano cheese, garlic,  Italian herbs, and then fried to perfection in olive oil.

My Traditional Meatballs are an Italian-American recipe that has been in our family since the early 1940’s, over the years my family has tweaked them a bit from my Nona Josie’s original meatball recipe to make them a little more simplified and to the point to make.Traditional Meatballs { Italian-American Recipe}

My Nona was born in Bellosguardo, a town, and comune in the province of Salerno in the Campania region of south-western Italy. Some years later she would make her dream journey to Ellis Island, New York to begin her life here in America; and learn to make these meatballs in her quaint kitchen from one of the neighbors.

Her Italian-American Meatballs are a far cry from traditional meatballs that are found in Southern Italy, traditionally Italian Polpette are usually the size of marbles, made with ground beef or veal and never served with pasta in Italy. Polpette is cooked in a homemade sauce, broth, or sometimes just fried and served as is.

Traditional Meatballs { Italian-American Recipe}My Nona’s meatball recipe has become one to reckon with after being fried in a quality olive oil and then added to her homemade sauce and simmered for a period of time to marry the flavors together. Those tender flavorful meatballs are perfect on Italian bread with mozzarella cheese or eaten over al dente pasta the choice is yours to make. I hope you enjoy them as much as we have.


  • 1 and 1/2 pounds of lean ground beef
  • 1/2 of a pound ground pork
  • 3/4 of a cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 of a cup of quality Pecorino Romano cheese +more
  • 1/4 of a cup chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 large egg, lightly beaten
  • pepper flakes, to own taste
  • kosher salt to own taste
  • fresh ground pepper to own taste
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil for cooking meatballs divided by 2
  • Homemade sauce
  • Fresh Mozzarella


  1. In a large bowl combine lean ground beef, ground pork, panko breadcrumbs, Pecorino Romano cheese, Italian flat-leaf parsley, minced garlic, fresh chopped basil, beaten eggs, pepper flakes, kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper. Form meatballs to 1×1 or 2×2 inches. Place on a metal baking pan till needed.
  2. Heat 2 large cast iron or metal skillets on medium heat before adding olive oil to bottom, add enough to coat the bottom of the skillet or metal pan but not drench the meatballs in olive oil about 3 tablespoons or less in each.
  3. Fry the meatballs on each side till browned. Remove from the skillets and place on a wire rack to drain for a few moments.
  4. Meanwhile, add your favorite homemade sauce to a large saucepan on low heat and then place the meatballs in the sauce to cook for 1 hour on very low heat. Be sure to stir here and there.
  5. Serve meatballs with Italian bread and cheese, or over your favorite al dente pasta if desired.
  6. Top with Pecorino Romano cheese and fresh basil.
  7. Enjoy!

Traditional Meatballs

© Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch, 2017-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner are strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



  1. Reblogged this on Sarah's Attic Of Treasures (Will Include Posts From Our Neck Of The Woods) and commented:
    I actually made homemade spaghetti meat and tomato sauce from scratch a few days ago. It was really good. I usually buy a jar of sauce that we like and then add it to my homemade sauce for added tomato sauce..
    I use to make the noodles but I stopped that years ago.
    Check out Heidy’s Recipe. It really is easy. Add the hamburger to the sauce if you don’t want to make meat balls. Danny just breaks the meatballs down into pieces so I don’t make meatballs very often.

    Liked by 1 person

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