Flavorful, juicy, small -- to go with pasta, soup, etc.

I'm usually not excited about having meatballs. They are often done "wrong" – too dry, not that flavorful, too large (for me), just a boring ball of meat. However, one day I had some leftover tomato-based sauce, ground meat, and a hankering for pasta. I found a good recipe base that I changed for my tastes.


Serves 15-20 1-inch-diameter meatballs

  • 10 oz ground meat
    • I try to have about 40% ground turkey for leanness and environmental / ethical reasons.
    • The other 60% should have some amount of beef or veal and higher fat. The beef adds a lot of flavor, and I prefer it over veal. A lot of recipes call for pork for the fat. I happened to have some affordable wagyu beef, which gives me both beef and high fat. I also don't like to have much pork.
  • 1/2 cup panko or toasted breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 ounces or 2/3rds cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh, chopped parsely; dried parsley also works
  • 1 large egg, optionally beaten
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp kosher salt, more to taste
  • 1 tsp black pepper, more to taste
  • olive oil if you're brave; other higher-temp oils if you're cautious


  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Heat a sauté pan on medium-high heat with oil, about 1/2 to 1 in. high covering the pan.
  3. Roll the meat mixture into 1-inch-diameter balls.
  4. When the oil is hot, add the meatballs so that each is touching the bottom of the pan well. If it's too crowded, work in batches. Be mindful of your placement – go from outside to inside, or inside to outside, or left to right, etc.
  5. After a few minutes and a good brown color appears on the bottom of the meatballs, flip them. Work from the same direction from how you placed the meatballs, so that the longest-frying meatballs get flipped first.
  6. After a few minutes and a good brown color appears on the new bottoms of the meatballs, transfer them to your desired location. They can be in a warm sauce pot or soup, for example, or eaten with other dishes. If in a sauce pot, just a few minutes simmering should be sufficient.
  7. Enjoy!