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  • Christina Gili

Mary's Meatballs


My mom makes the BEST meatballs. She didn’t grow up making and eating meatballs, but she has perfected them over the years.


This Italian-American favorite is something she picked up when she lived in New York City and we thank her for that. There are countless recipes and variations of the delicious rolled up balls of meat and, when I think of comfort food, this is it. The differences are usually the type of meat used, the ingredients for the binder and the method of cooking. Unlike other recipes, my mother only uses beef, lots of garlic and maybe an egg or two more than other recipes. She also fries them in a little olive oil to get extra flavor and then finishes them in a sauce.


Her grandchildren love them and, when she makes them, she makes a lot and has care packages waiting for them when they visit. This, combined with my Dad’s Marinara sauce, is the perfect combination, just like their beautiful love story.



3 1/2 pounds ground beef (80-85% lean)

5 eggs

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup chopped parsley

3/4 cup bread crumbs

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

salt and pepper

1/4 cup olive oil, more if needed


  1. In a large pot, simmer about 8 cups of marina sauce over medium to low heat.

  2. Combine the ground meat, eggs, cheese, parsley, garlic, and bread crumbs in a bowl.

  3. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix all ingredients together with your hands.

  4. Be careful not to overmix and shape meat into balls. If you have time refrigerate them for 15 minutes. This helps keep their shape when cooking them.

  5. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan and when oil is hot, in batches, place meatballs in pan and cook until browned, turning every few minutes to brown each side. Once they are cooked, place in Marinara sauce and cook for about 1 1/2 hours.

  6. Once all the meatballs are added to the sauce, drain the excess oil from the sauté pan and add about 1 cup of the marinara sauce and deglaze the pan. The brown bits from cooking the meatballs will add extra flavor to the sauce.


This recipe should make about 32 large or 50 smaller meatalls. Note: they will shrink a bit while cooking.


Serve over pasta or with a loaf of bread - our favorite is Spaghetti!








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