Baked Italian meatballs are like a hug from an old friend, always welcome and you forget how much you missed one until you have one. These meatballs are smothered with a tomato sauce that is made while they cook.
I love Italian meatballs. They are quick, easy, and most of all delicious. Personally I love to make these on a Sunday and have he rest for a few meals during the week as they are great for meal prep. I think they are great with roasted eggplant. Another bonus is that they are done in 30 minutes.
Spice up those Italian meatballs
What I think makes these meatballs special is the blend of herbs and spices that go in them. The addition of anise seeds instead of fennel add just a little more of that licorice taste without being overpowering. The other thing is that half of the spice blend goes into the tomato sauce to create a nice combination.
Using the best tomatoes
Personally I love using San Marzano tomatoes. In my opinion they are the best canned tomatoes you can find. These are the same tomatoes that I use in my pizza Margherita. There is a hierarchy when it comes to canned tomatoes you will want to pay attention too. Whole tomatoes are always the best tomatoes since they need to handle the processing and remain whole. The next in quality would be diced, then crushed, and finally tomato sauce.
Mixing it well
When you make the meatballs it is a good idea to make sure the beef and pork are mixed thoroughly before adding the rest of the ingredients. This will make sure you have the same even consistency. Another trick is the whisk the eggs and spices together before adding them to the meat. By doing so you will make sure those get evenly distributed as well. However if you choose to mix in everything all at once then give it a good couple of minutes of kneading with your hands.
Scooping Italian meatballs
A scoop is really your friend for this recipe. It will make sure you have consistent and evenly sized meatballs. It also makes sure that all of them will cook at the same speed so none of them dry out. You can use a 2 or 3 tablespoon scoop for this recipe. Shorten the cooking time with a 2 tablespoon size meatball. I prefer the 3 tablespoon scoop as this gives a larger meatball and the perfect size for 3 meatballs to make a serving.
Looking for other ground beef recipes?
Baked Italian Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
- Cast iron skillet
- Mixing Bowl
- 3 tablespoon cookie scoop
- Lined sheet pan
- Food processor
- 28 ounces San Marzano tomatoes 1 28oz can
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1½ cups bread crumbs
- ½ cup parmesan cheese shredded
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Italian parsley fresh, chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- ½ tablespoon ground pepper
- ½ tablespoon salt
- ½ tablespoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon basil
- ¼ teaspoon anise seeds
- Preheat the oven to 425°F or gas mark 7.
- Combine the pepper, garlic powder, basil, and oregano together and split in half.
- In a mixing bowl mix the ground pork and beef until they are combined. Add the eggs and one of the halves of the seasoning mix, the salt, and anise seeds. Mix until combined and then mix in the bread crumbs. Use the 3 tablespoon scoop to portion out the meatballs. Roll into a ball and place onto the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.
- While the meatballs are cooking puree the tomatoes. In a saucepan or cast iron skillet, on medium high, heat the oil and then add the garlic. Once the garlic starts to brown add the pureed tomatoes and the other half of the season blend. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Cook for 15 minutes.
- Once the meatballs are done add them to the tomato sauce and top with the parmesan cheese and parsley.