Of course, flavor matters in food. And so do taste, texture and eye appeal. But now we’d like to stand up for the often unsung importance of shapes, as well. Aren’t there times when only a long, skinny noodle will do? Or times when a slab of cake seems wrong, but a tiny cupcake seems perfect?
Here’s an excellent example: There are times when a full, round-topped meatloaf, carried to the table with pride, makes you feel like the star of a black-and-white family sitcom. But things don’t always have to be so, well — oblong. Case in point: just thinking about tucking into these happy little meatballs made us smile.
This recipe will make a difference in your day. Every bite is light, every morsel is chewy and every single ball carries savory notes of garlic and parsley to your palate. The prep couldn’t be easier, and it’s up to you if you want to mix everything with a wooden spoon or dive in with your bare fingers. While the shape is decidedly circular, the size can be up to you. Make them all diminutive, then set them to float in a bowlful of broth. Or make them wonderfully rotund, each enough for a full serving. No matter what, they’ll bake up easily on a sheet pan in under half an hour.
Our tip: If you’re feeling ambitious, do yourself a solid and bake up a double batch. Wait until the meatballs are cool, then pop that second batch in the freezer, where it will be waiting as a little gift from past-you to a hungry-and-out-of-ideas future you.
Yield: 24 to 30 meatballs
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 to 25 minutes
¾ pound ground beef
¾ pound ground veal
⅓ cup milk
2 cups Italian or white bread, cubed with crusts removed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing pan
1 tablespoon L&B Italian Tuscan Seasoning
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus some for garnish
3 garlic cloves, grated
¼ cup grated onion
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley, plus some for garnish
- Heat oven to 350 F.
- In a large bowl, break up the beef and veal evenly with a wooden spoon or your fingers.
- In a separate smaller bowl, combine the milk and cubed bread, and use a wooden spoon or your fingers to mash the bread and milk mixture until all of the bread is saturated and about the size of rice grains.
- Whisk the egg and olive oil into the bread mixture, and set it aside.
- Add the Italian Tuscan seasoning, kosher salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper, parmesan, garlic, onion and parsley to the meat mixture and combine it with a wooden spoon or your hand until the seasoning is evenly distributed.
- Add in half the egg and bread mixture, stir to incorporate, and then add in the second half. Stir until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
- Using your hands, roll the meatballs into 1 ½-inch balls and place them on a lightly oiled sheet pan.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 F on an instant-read thermometer.
- Toss the meatballs in your favorite L&B tomato sauce, garnish with parmesan and parsley, and enjoy.