Italian Meatballs (GF)

Meatballs are relatively simple and are as versatile a recipe as you can get. As I describe below, you can adapt this to whatever your heart desires. The proportions given below work for 1 pound of meat and make about eight 2-3 ounce meatballs. I like that size because you can bake or fry them to be medium rare to medium (if you’re not using poultry!), then warm in sauce. Make sure you make a couple extra; I like to sneak one or two as they come out of the oven.

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A note on seasoning: it’s difficult to predict how much salt and pepper you’ll need. When in doubt, you can take a little of the meat mixture before you commit to baking them and cook it in a frying pan like a burger to get a feel for seasoning.

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Venison Italian Meatballs (Gluten Free)
Print Recipe
You can adapt this recipe to your lifestyle. If you want to go the classic route, use a mixture of beef, pork, and veal and substitute plain breadcrumbs. Venison provides a healthier alternative, but 99% lean turkey, chicken, bison, or your favorite animal protein will work in this recipe.
Servings Prep Time
8 Meatballs 10 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 Meatballs 10 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Venison Italian Meatballs (Gluten Free)
Print Recipe
You can adapt this recipe to your lifestyle. If you want to go the classic route, use a mixture of beef, pork, and veal and substitute plain breadcrumbs. Venison provides a healthier alternative, but 99% lean turkey, chicken, bison, or your favorite animal protein will work in this recipe.
Servings Prep Time
8 Meatballs 10 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 Meatballs 10 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Add ground meat to a large bowl.
  3. Add remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste. It could take anywhere between 1/2 tsp and 1 tsp of each depending on the cheese.
  4. Mix thoroughly but gently with fingertips.
  5. Divide into about 8 portions. Roll individually until smooth and round. Arrange on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
  6. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and bake for 20-25 minutes or until meat reaches desired doneness.
  7. Serve as an accompaniment to your favorite tomato sauce and pasta.
Recipe Notes

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Ground meat

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Remaining ingredients

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Unbaked meatballs

Baked meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs with zucchini

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2 thoughts on “Italian Meatballs (GF)

  • -R.

    Any thoughts on not baking the meatballs, and instead just dropping them raw into a pot of slow cooked sauce, aka “gravy”? I’ve always found that baking (or heaven forbid pan frying) the meatballs locks in a degree of greasiness that I don’t find all that appealing. Slow cooking (3-5 hour) in sauce yields an incredibly moist meatball, perfectly cooked, that imparts a delightful meatiness to the overall flavor of the gravy – kind of a bi-directional flavor osmosis.


    • derryX

      It’s definitely a technique that many people use, including my mom. I like the bake ahead for a few reasons: (1) it makes it easy for storage (freezing or refrigerating) and (2) it helps develop a little crust around the exterior that stands up to the sauce (some people like the sauce to penetrate more than I do).

      I don’t cook tomato sauce for more than 30-40 minutes, so I’d rather just start both at the same time and then marry everything together in the last 5-10 minutes. There’s an argument that the garlic, parsley, and cheese in the meatballs flavor the sauce as it cooks, but I never found it appreciable.



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