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how to make Italian meatballs nonna styel

Polpette, Italian Meatballs


  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 2 ounces chopped parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + extra to coat hands
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 4 ounces bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Extra olive oil for frying if using this method


  1. Combine beef, veal and pork and a large bowl
  2. Add the other ingredients and mix altogether using your bare hands for best results
  3. The mixture should be very moist but still hold its shape when rolled into meatballs
  4. Coat your hands with olive oil and shape into meatballs to desired size.
  5. At this point, you can either brown the meatballs in a frying pan or broil them in the oven which Nonna Francesca prefers to do.
  6. To broil them, place the meatballs on a broiler pan and broil until the outside is slightly browned on one side. Then turn them and broil the other side.
  7. If you choose to fry them, heat olive oil in a large skillet and fry meatballs in batches.
  8. When they are nicely browned, remove them from the heat and drain on a paper towel.
  9. Add the browned meatballs to your spaghetti sauce and simmer for 1 hour.


  • Using olive oil or water to wet your hands before shaping the meatballs makes for a smoother finish
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