Easy and super tasty meatballs in tomato sauce


Can you find a universal recipe to make meatballs? I don’t think so! Every family has got their own magic combination; actually, no ingredient lists are needed to make meatballs, set your imagination free and mix a bit of everything: they will be really toothsome!

How do you make simple meatballs?

The simplest, the most delicious: a few ingredients but plenty of taste. Although, I do not have exact doses myself I always mix the same ingredients: left-over cooked meat, aromatic herbs, a little mortadella and Parma ham, eggs, breadcrumbs-it is a done deal.

You may mix different types of meat, and then stir some cheese in, Parmigiano Reggiano for instance. Well, add anything you like to the base: meat, which gives a strong taste, and an egg, the “binding agent” which helps all the other ingredients stick together.

What can you replace breadcrumbs with?

I usually add a little breadcrumbs to the mixture, but if you don’t have any, or you fancy something different, you may crash some (not very salty) crackers or sugar free breakfast flakes. Add a boiled potato for fluffier and more delicate meatballs.

How many eggs should I use?

I usually count 1 egg for a kg of cooked meat. More eggs make meatballs more compact. You choose according to your taste.

Can you fry meatballs?

Yes, I usually fry them. Once you have shaped the meatballs, they must hold together, so I fry them in plenty of very hot oil-the crispy crust seals the meatball and they won’t fall apart in the tomato  sauce.   

Frying does not always turn food into something fat and very rich in calories-it won’t spill your diet  if you carefully follow a useful few hints:

  • Heat the oil to 160°-180°C ( 320°-356° F) before dipping the meatballs (actually, this is true for any food you want to fry): they will cook better and the oil itself won’t deteriorate. Stick the end of a wooden spoon into the oil, if you see a lot of bubbles form around the wood, the oil is ready for frying;
  • Always opt for deep-frying; use a medium high-sided frying pan: heat about 1 cm of oil to guarantee  a uniform cooking. If you use too little oil, the meatballs will tent to absorb it all, and the left oil will get burned on the bottom of the pan.
  • Do not put too many meatballs into the oil at a time because they will lower its temperature and  so they will absorb more oil without getting crispy;
  • Do not add any oil while frying;
  • Check for their doneness and transfer to a paper towel to drain with a perforated spoon.

What kind of oil do you fry meatballs in?

You must definitely use good oil which can withstand high temperatures.  In Italy, olive oil, or even extra virgin olive oil, is is preferred because of its high smoke point. Peanut oil may replace olive oil well, but you should not fry in mixed seed oil, or soy one because they have a lower smoke point and deteriorate faster.

Never fry in the same oil twice.

How long do you have to brown meatballs before letting them finish in the sauce?

Deep-fry each side of the meatballs about 3-4 minutes. I add them to the skillet and I leave then to sit until they are brown on one side (about 1 or 2 minutes), then I turn each one to brown both sides, 1 or 2 m minutes again. The meatball will be evenly and completely with a tempting crispy exterior.

Can I cook raw meatballs in sauce?

Well, you should not throw raw meatball into the sauce because they tend to fall apart. Although  the tomato sauce is boiling, it won’t be hot enough to seal the meatball into a crispy compact crust able to withstand the cooking process. The result will be a large meatball, called “polpettone” in Italian.

How long do you have to cook meatballs in sauce?

Use high-quality tomato purée, or tinned peeled tomatoes (I always opt for Mutti, for me it is the best and the least sour). Heat the sauce with little extra virgin olive oil, when it is hot add the fried meatballs. Simmer them for a few minutes turning them gently until the sauce has clung to the meatballs. I’ll take just a few minutes. Then I remove from the hat and I let them sit for a while. I usually prepare my meatballs the day before, so they are get plenty of taste.

Should meatballs be slightly pink inside?

Meatballs are usually slightly less cooked inside than outside; however they are made from cooked meat, so they are definitely safe to eat. Anyway, if you prefer well done meatballs, you cook 15 minutes longer (in the pan with lid).

What can you combine meatballs with for a balanced dinner?

The average serving for a woman is 3-4 medium-sized meatballs (as big as a golf ball), 4-5 for a man. I usually combine them with some green salad, or mixed salad dressed with little oil, and a some bread, or boiled potatoes.

Easy and super tasty meatballs in tomato sauce

You have some leftover beef from yesterday's dinner, what can you do with it? It is easy. Turn it into something completely different: delicious meatballs. There are no rules, no standard recipes. As everyone, I have got my own recipe-let me show it!
The trick for a low-fat recipe? Balance the ingredients properly and cook them well- you will taste meat in a different way.
My mom's ones are delicious; of course, I have got my own recipe, and they are never the same! This is nice because every time it is a new surprising taste!   
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword italian meatballs, meatballs
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 people


  • 200 gr

    cooked meat (roast or boiled) 

  • 100 gr mortadella
  • 100 gr Parma hma
  • 10 leaves sage
  • 3-4 twigs fresh thyme
  • 2-3 twigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp


  • flour
  • chili pepper powder 

  • some leaves of fresh basil 

  • Extra virgin olive oil for frying 


  • Wash and clean the aromatic herbs: remove the scented tender leaves and put aside; 
  • Coarsely dice the meat and put it into the bowl of the blender with the leaves of the aromatic herbs, the mortadella, the Parma ham, and the breadcrumbs; 
  • Pulse until a smooth and soft paste; 
  • Shape 15 meatballs with your hands; they should be compact and as bis as a golf ball; 
  • Roll the meatballs into the flour to dry them, so they will absorb less oil during then frying process; 
  • Fill a medium high-sided frying pan with 1 cm of oil and heat it; 
  • When the oil is hot, about 160°-180°C ( 320°-356° F), fry the meatball until they are brown and crispy on both sides; 
  • Transfer the meatballs to a paper towel to drain; 
  • In the meanwhile, that the tomato sauce in a saucepan with little oil; season with salt and chili pepper and basil for a stronger taste; 
  • Bring the sauce to a simmer and add the meatballs; 
  • Simmer for a few minuets and serve very hot. 

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