Secrets for Great Meatballs

A variety of techniques and ingredients make tender and well-flavored meatballs to eat with tomato sauce on pasta or in sandwiches.

Most hounds like a mixture of meats, such as beef and pork or Italian sausage. Karl S thinks that beef or bison gives depth of flavor, pork or bulk pork sausage adds sweetness, and veal lends a better texture. CHOW's Italian Meatballs combine, beef, pork, and turkey.

Many prefer using a panade of bread soaked in milk to breadcrumbs; cocktailhour uses buttermilk to soak the bread. "I use English muffins," says coll, "soaked in heavy cream. When I switched from regular bread to muffins something just clicked. If you want to add a handful of breadcrumbs, panko will fluff everything up nicely."

There are lots of seasoning possibilities. kookiegoddess likes the combo of parsley, nutmeg, lemon zest, salt, freshly ground pepper, and "a good heap of Parmesan." Spot says a couple of anchovies heated in olive oil until they dissolve add "a salty umami hit." "I fry a test meatball to see if I've got the seasoning right," says vafarmwife.

Cynsa's favorite recipe is these meatballs braised in tomato and white wine from A16 in San Francisco, which include beef, pork, pancetta, and ricotta. Phurstluv makes Cook's Country magazine's big Italian meatballs and freezes them by the batch.

Discuss: I want to make GREAT meatballs

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