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.
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. Since these tomatoes need to be the best of the batch to be canned whole you know you will always be getting superior tomatoes.
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.
I prefer to make my meatballs larger. I use the 3 tablespoon scoop versus the 2 tablespoon scoop. By doing so it will only give you about 19 meatballs. Due to the short cooking time for the tomato sauce it is ok to prepare in a cast iron skillet like in my photographs. However a stainless steel pan works just as well. The sauce only needs about 15 minutes unless you prefer it very thick and then let as much of the liquid cook off as you like.
Baked Italian Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
- Cast iron skillet
- Mixing Bowl
- 3 tablespoon cookie scoop
- Lined sheet pan
- Food processor
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 lb ground beef
- ½ cup parmesan cheese shredded
- 1 tbsp Italian parsley fresh, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 eggs
- 1½ cups bread crumbs
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 28 oz San Marzano tomatoes 1 28oz can
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- ½ tbsp oregano
- 1 tsp basil
- ½ tbsp ground pepper
- ½ tbsp salt
- ¼ tsp 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.