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These are simply beautiful meatballs with many uses. I make huge batches and freeze them; pulling them out during the month to put them to use. I have lightened up the original recipe, using the same ingredients, just a lighter variety. You are certainly welcome to replace the egg whites with whole eggs, the fat free chicken stock with regular chicken stock and the panko crumbs with regular plain bread crumbs. Please see the photo gallery to the left for all of the ways I serve these wonderful meatballs.
- 1 cup fat-free chicken broth
- 3⁄4 yellow onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 3⁄4 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped fine
- 1 1⁄2 lbs lean ground beef
- 1 1⁄2 lbs ground lean pork (can substitute ground turkey or chicken)
- 1 1⁄2 lbs lean ground veal (can substitute ground turkey or chicken)
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 6 egg whites, beaten
- 3⁄4 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese, grated
- 3 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 8 cups marinara sauce
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- Place the chicken stock, onion, garlic and parsley in a blender of food processor and puree.
- In a large bowl, combine the pureed stock mix, meat, bread crumbs, eggs, Parmigiano-Reggiano, red pepper flakes and salt. Combine with both hands until mixture is uniform. Do not over mix.
- Heat oven to 375 degrees. Put a little olive oil on your hands and form mixture into balls about the size of golf balls. If you prefer bigger or smaller, it will only affect the browning time.
- Place 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil a baking sheet. Add the meatballs to the pan (working in batches if necessary). Place the meatballs in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
- While the meatballs are browning, heat the marinara sauce in a stockpot over medium heat. Transfer the baked meatballs to the marinara sauce. Stir gently. Simmer for 5 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.
- Serve with a little extra Parmigiano-Reggiano sprinkled on top. Serve alone over spaghetti.
- FREEZING INSTRUCTIONS: No matter what method of packing you decide to use, it is important once they have completely cooled, to place the meatballs on a baking sheet and freeze them before packing. You want the meatballs to be independent from one another for ease when you want to use them. If you have a vacuum sealer at home, please proceed packing the meatballs according to the manufacturers directions. If not, place the meatballs in airtight containers or freezer bags. You can pack the meatballs with the marinara sauce after you've frozen them, or you can pack the marinara separate from the meatballs.
- SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Please see photo gallery for all the different ways I have served these meatballs.
These went together rather quickly, and the end result was a delicious spaghetti and meatball dinner. I made my own sauce, instead of the marinara sauce, and with the addition of these mega meatballs, and my friend and I had a feast. I did make bigger meatballs, as that's how we like them. Spices were perfectly blended with the meat and other ingredients, which is really important for meatballs. By the way, thanks so much for the tip on freezing. It came in handy!
I halved the recipe -- using half ground beef and half ground turkey. It was a great combo. I also used two large whole eggs instead of the just the egg whites. I had never used planko crumbs in meatballs before and liked the results very much. I did come across a slight problem in the recipe directions. It says to combine several ingredients including the parsley in the blender -- which I did. But then I got to the next step and it said to add the parsley along with some other ingredients to the pureed stock -- it seems the parsley is listed in two different steps. I made the meatballs on the small side -- and will either make them larger the next time -- or reduce the baking time. It's nice to have another meatball recipe to add to the rest in my cookbook.