Header image: Turkey Ricotta Meatballs from CHOW

The Italian meatball doesn’t need to be invited to the party. It is the party, bestowing good vibes wherever it goes. Got a plate of boring, plain old pasta? Add some meatballs and gravy for a fun time. Is your pizza slice in need of some sprucing up? Take it to the limits of excess by topping it with meatballs. Have a hoagie roll just crying out to get sauced? Put a meatball on it!

Any time you come across a dish that just seems to be missing something, ask yourself, “Would this be better with an Italian meatball on it?” Because chances are the answer is yes. I mean, it worked out quite well for these nine recipes. They’re definitive proof that meatballs and red sauce possess a pretty magical touch.

1. Basic Italian Meatballs


Three parts beef, two parts pork, and one hundred percent guaranteed to make you a pro at shaping things into little round patties. We’ll show you how to put them together. What you do with them is up to your meatballer instincts. Get our Basic Italian Meatballs recipe.

2. Spaghetti and Meatballs


If you grew up eating spaghetti and meatballs, a recipe like this one is sure to get feelings of nostalgia running high. Make sure you have plenty of parmesan at the ready. Get our Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe.

3. Turkey Meatballs with Ricotta


These cheesy turkey meatballs may be a bit unorthodox, but does that really matter when they’re coated in sauce and wedged between the two sides of a hoagie? I think not. Get our Turkey Meatballs with Ricotta recipe.

4. Meatball Pizza (on a Naan Crust)

Big Girls Small Kitchen

Forget sharing. Here’s a pizza that you can call your own. These pies on naan bread are the perfect size for keeping all the meatball goodness to yourself. Get the recipe here.

5. Meatball Muffins

What Lisa Cooks

These muffin tin nibbles condense all the charms of a meatball sub into one nifty bite. Now if only all of life’s pleasures could fit into the palm of your hand. Get the recipe here.

6. Meatball Casserole

Martha Stewart

If you were a meatball, you’d want to end up in a dish like this. Swimming in a pool of tomato sauce, surrounded by pools of melty mozzarella—what a life! Get the recipe here.

7. White Bean and Mushroom “Meatball” Subs


White beans bring creamy heft and mushrooms are full of big flavor—of course they’d make for a killer faux-meatball. Pair them up with some garlicky chard leaves for a welcome bit of green. Get the recipe here.

8. Cheesy Stuffed Meatball Sliders

Rachel Schultz

This is why meatballs have got it better than burgers in the ground meat game: a meatball is the perfect size for dousing in sauce and topping with cheese and it still looks good perched inside of an itty bitty slider bun. Try getting saucy like that, quarter pounder.  Get the recipe here.

9. Ricotta and Sage Fried Meatballs

Bon Appetit

What’s better than a plump and tender meatball? One that’s been rolled in a crispy, fried panko coating. With some marinara sauce for dunking, this is the ultimate way to satisfy both the meatball and the deep fried finger food lover in you. Get the recipe here.

Interested in “Jewish spaghetti“, cook along with “Royal Pains” Star’s Dad as he prepares a family recipe.

Miki Kawasaki is a New York City–based food writer and graduate of Boston University’s program in Gastronomy. Few things excite her more than a well-crafted sandwich or expertly spiced curry. If you ever run into her at a dinner party, make sure to hit her up for a few pieces of oddball culinary trivia.
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