Nonna's Meatballs

The key to perfectly moist meatballs?  The trio of meat is decadence.  The Parmesan cheese adds the perfect nutty salt flavor.  And of course, the onion and garlic add a simple layer of texture.  But the (albeit, odd) way to keep your meatballs light and moist, instead of dense and dry - soak your breadcrumb in buttermilk!  And it's gotta be buttermilk, too, no 2% crap in these babies!  Unfortunately, I can't remember if this is the way my Nonna did it.  I also can't decide if I told her now that should should change her ways, would she hit me on the side of the head with a skillet or willingly try it?  Either way, these meatballs deserve to be donned with the name "Nonna's", because I do know one thing's for sure - she woulda loved them.

What You'll Need:
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
  • Dried spices, to taste: basil, oregano, salt, pepper
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1.  Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and add onion.  Cook onion until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.  Add garlic about halfway through.  Season with salt and pepper.  When finished cooking, set aside to let cool.

2.  In a mixing bowl, toss breadcrumb with buttermilk to soak.  Go ahead and get in there with your hands so you can make sure the breadcrumb is completely wet.  Mix beef, pork, and veal with onion/garlic mix, soaked breadcrumbs, eggs, parsley, spices, and Parmesan cheese.  Mix well with your hands, careful not to overmix.  Roll meat into meatballs - mixture should make about 25, depending on the size - about 3 ounces is what I like.

3.  Heat remaining oil in same skillet you cooked the onions.  When hot, brown the meatballs on all sides.  Transfer browned meatballs to a 375-degree oven and cook about 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165-degrees.  Serve with some sweet and savory marinara sauce, and extra, extra Parmesan cheese!


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