Sue’s “Almost Famous” Meatballs

Sue’s “Almost Famous” Meatballs are delicious monster meatballs that if not famous already, soon will be among your family and friends.


Sue’s “Almost Famous” Meatballs
by Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime

My meatballs are “almost famous.”

“Almost?” You might ask. Wondering if maybe they aren’t quite up to snuff.

Yes, we have all had “those kind” of meatballs before, that promised you the world but instead were little hard, greasy hockey pucks. Let’s not go onto that icy subject any further than we have to reach our goal, k?

I promise you. These are the best meatballs I ever put  together or ate. I can’t speak for you, since I honestly don’t know if you have an Italian grandma standing right next to you that you wouldn’t want to insult by telling me that hers weren’t, well.

Not exactly Lidia Bastianich, right? 😉

Oh I do love Lidia, and she was the one who gave me the idea for keeping my marinara simple. And I do use that recipe in this recipe, and you can also find that recipe here:

Marinara Sauce

That is an awesome recipe for putting up spaghetti sauce without having to have it take over your entire freezer, if you happen to be growing your own tomatoes, or find yourself with a sudden windfall of them.

But back to Lidia, I can’t exactly recall if I have ever seen her make meatballs. I catch her show from time to time late at night on PBS, but I don’t really follow the cooking shows all that heavily. I think I burned out watching too many shows on how candy is wrapped or too many cutthroat “Most Cutthroat Chef of the World” shows that just lost my interest.

But my meatballs are good. In fact, they probably would be famous if I had ever given out my recipe before, and since I am only doing that just now, they can’t exactly be notorious, right? Unless you have dined in my home.

AND I have to admit I am not a chef. I have worked under a chef. And I have cooked for the better part of over 40 years (Ssh! Don’t give away the lady’s age! LOL!) and I do know my way about a kitchen. Just ask anyone if I know where the can-opener is! Ha!

But you don’t really have to be a world-class chef to make good meatballs, as you will see when you make this recipe. It is really just a bit of common sense. You may see differences among meatball recipes, but the basics remain.

I do not drop raw meatballs into sauce, because I don’t want the fat that exudes to permeate the marinara. I brown mine in the skillet first, giving them just enough time to get the extra grease out and firm them up so they don’t fall apart. This can be done in the oven as well, but it is July and I don’t want to heat up the kitchen any more than I have to.

I love the generous size of these monster meatballs!

And I loved that today, I got to have the leftovers piled up on Italian bread and baked in the oven for the most bodacious meatball subs you ever could meet.

Best. Meatball. Subs. Ever.

But hey, don’t take my word for it, try it yourself:

Stuffocation Meatball Sandwiches

And however you enjoy your meatballs, over spaghetti, on a sub, sliced onto a Bronx bomb of a pizza, I do hope you enjoy. I know you will!


Sue's Almost Famous Meatballs

  • Servings: 5
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 16 ounces lean ground beef
  • 12 ounces mild Italian sausage (about 2 nice salsiccia links, casings removed)
  • 2 ounces soft bread crumbs (from Italian bread)
  • 5 ounces finely chopped onion
  • 2 large pastured organic eggs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (if you like spicy meatballs)
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 quart marinara sauce (I use this recipe: Marinara Sauce)
  • 16 ounces uncooked spaghetti pasta, cooked al dente (see package directions) (if serving meatballs on pasta)


  1. Mix together all ingredients thoroughly and let sit for about 15 minutes to allow the milk to be absorbed into the breadcrumbs.
  2. Make rounded meatballs from 1/2 cup of the meat mixture and brown on all sides, not moving them too much as they brown.
  3. Place browned meatballs into a large pan (with a lid) and cover with about one quart marinara sauce.
  4. Simmer on low heat without disturbing meatballs for about 30 minutes.
  5. Serve meatballs and sauce over spaghetti or reserve for another use (Might I suggest Stuffocation Meatball Sandwiches?)

Makes 10 Monster Meatballs!

Cooks tip:
If using fresh herbs in this recipe, use 1 tablespoon minced FRESH herb instead of the one teaspoon DRIED herb, as dried herb uses only one-third as much as fresh. This is because when herbs dry, water is removed and they shrink.

Cooks tip:
Using slightly stale French bread or Italian bread (even fresh bread works) place bread chunks in a food processor and pulse a few times for soft bread crumbs. Freeze what you don’t use that session in airtight freezer bags or dry them in a low oven (about 250F) for about 20-30 minutes or until crisp and dry, then store in an airtight container.

Cooks tip:
Don’t buy parmesan in the green can. Did you know it contains cellulose, which is essentially ground up indigestible sawdust? Instead, buy whole wedges of Parmesan, cut into managable pieces, then quickly grate it in the food processor fitted with a fine shredding wheel. Or use a box grater, although that is more tedious.


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One response

  1. These do look wonderful Sue- I do a similar technique with my meatballs as well, it really helps them not fall apart in the sauce (a pet peeve of mine). Great job 🙂

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