Fried Italian Meatballs

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Fried Italian Meatballs | Thrifty Below

Before we enter my very first recipe blog, it must be known that I am an improvisational cook.  I learned to cook from my mother and grandmother, both improvisational cooks themselves who rarely use measurements, aside from when baking.  We cook by taste, which is exciting, and maybe even creatively expressive.  So, when making any of my recipes, I encourage you to stray, and to improvise yourself.  These are measurements I’ve come up with while cooking this just for the sake of this blog post, as these recipes have never before been written down.

Fried Italian Meatballs | Thrifty Below

This particular recipe is one of my grandmother’s that was passed down to her from her father, thought to be passed down to him from his mother.  It is one that my family cannot get enough of, and that we make special every Thanksgiving.  This recipe is for a large number of people, and can obviously be cut down to serve a much more reasonable number, but I only ever cook these in large batches.  They freeze well (both the mixture and the finished meatballs) and are just as good reheated, so making a large amount generally isn’t a problems (and, as always in the case of bulk, are cheaper!)  You can serve them by themselves (my favorite way to eat them) or with sauce and pasta (I’ll be adding a homemade marinara recipe soon, so check back in a few weeks).

Begin by separating the parsley leaves from the stems. Finely dice the parsley. Instead of finely dicing, you can also place the parsley leaves into a blender with 1 cup of water, blend on high for a minute or so, then drain out the water using a fine strainer or cheese cloth.  This is often easier, as parsley is kind of hard to finely dice.

Slice french bread in half down the middle, then slice it into quarters longways. Remove the inner parts of the bread, discarding the crust (I, personally, leave the crust out on the lawn for the birds). Rip the insides of the bread into pieces smaller than half an inch in diameter. Measure out six cups of bread, then add a cup of water, moistening the bread.  If you are looking to make this recipe healthier, I’ve also made it with whole wheat bread.  The texture ends up being a little bit different, and they have a little bit of a wheat aftertaste, but I don’t mind it, and I feel better about making them.

Add 3lbs ground pork, 1lb ground beef, 6 whole eggs, 2lbs grated parmesan cheese, and your finely diced parsley to a large bowl with the damp bread.

Mix everything thoroughly. It is best to use your hands, so you can be sure everything is well mixed.

Fried Italian Meatballs | Thrifty Below

Heat four to eight cups of canola oil in pan at medium heat (depending on pan size, and how many meatballs you’d like to be able to cook at once).

Form mixture into balls. I prefer to size mine roughly 2.5 inches in diameter. Cook time obviously depends on the sizing of the meatball.

Fried Italian Meatballs | Thrifty Below

Once oil is heated, place meatballs in oil. Cook for roughly five minutes, or until a dark brown color on the outside. Use tongs to lower meatballs into oil, and to remove them from oil.

Fried Italian Meatballs | Thrifty Below

Place on towels or napkins (to absorb remaining oil) and let cool.

**Note: You can also make these healthier by not frying them. Instead, place them on parchment paper on a rack in the oven, brush the outside of the meatballs with oil, and bake at 400 degrees for about 50 minutes, turning them over halfway through baking.  I’ve also used whole wheat bread, as I noted earlier, to make them healthier, and have made them with low or reduced fat cheese.  They’re never as good as the original, but they’re a better substitute if you are on a diet and still hankering for some meatballs.  Several of my cousins have gluten and wheat allergies, and we’ve made these meatballs with homemade rice-flour bread or gluten free breadcrumbs.

Fried Italian Meatballs
 
My great grandfather's recipe for Italian Meatballs
Author:
Recipe type: Italian, Traditional, Chicago,
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 10 people
Ingredients
  • 3lbs ground pork
  • 1lb ground beef
  • 6 cups of french bread, ripped into small pieces, no crust (about 2 loaves)
  • 6 whole eggs
  • 2 lbs grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 large bunches of fresh parsley
  • 1 liter of canola oil
Instructions
  1. Separate the parsley leaves from the stems. Finely dice parsley.
  2. Rip the insides of the bread (discard crust) into pieces smaller than half an inch in diameter.
  3. Add a cup of water, moistening the bread.
  4. Add 3lbs ground pork, 1lb ground beef, 6 whole eggs, 2lbs grated parmesan cheese, and finely diced parsley to a large bowl with the damp bread.
  5. Mix everything thoroughly.
  6. Heat four to eight cups of canola oil in pan at medium heat.
  7. Form mixture into balls.
  8. Once oil is heated, place meatballs in oil. Cook for roughly five minutes, or until a dark brown color on the outside.
  9. Remove and let cool.
 

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2 Responses

  1. Thanks for sharing this recipe (found at thank god its friday linky). These meatballs look so amazing. Pinning to try—can’t wait. I also cook like you do (a lot)— Not with everything, but many things I have to come up with measurements in order to post on our blog:) Have a great weekend.

    • Thanks for visiting! I hope you like the meatballs! Glad I’m not the only one who often resists measurements. haha. Also, that Peanut Butter Mud Pie on your blog…OH MY GOSH! That looks like heaven!

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