Perfect Meatballs with Ground Beef and Italian Sausage
These really are the Perfect Meatballs with Ground Beef and Italian Sausage giving them the BEST flavor. Almost makes me think I’m Italian!
For the majority of my life, the only meatballs that ever graced a plate in front of me probably came out of a can…or maybe were frozen and thrown into some sauce before serving. And that was OK; I wasn’t the one in charge and I didn’t know any different and somehow I survived.
Until I had one; you know, a REAL meatball and of them all, this recipe for Perfect Meatballs with Ground Beef and Italian Sausage is simply the best.
Over the years I had better success at restaurants than at home and I tried, I really did. But apparently not hard enough. I’ve seen people espouse the use of multiple types of meat and often those mixes included veal and I just couldn’t go that route so I ignored them. So what changed; how did I end up with what I’m calling “Perfect Meatballs?”
It quite simply started a couple of years ago when I was putting some things away in the freezer and spotted two packages sitting next to each other. One was hamburger and one was Italian sausage.
Knowing I already had some homemade spaghetti sauce in the fridge, my brain did a quick computation and I was inspired to use those ingredients to make some meatballs to pair with that sauce. I’m sharing them again today because when I made them this past week, I took the time to get some better photos and yes, they do look yummier!
I didn’t have a favorite recipe so did a quick search and found a recipe from Anne Burrell. She also include veal but I ignored it and enjoyed her suggestions for spices which includes some red pepper flakes. Not hot but a very slight suggestion of heat…I LOVE that, don’t you?
Anne Burrell from The Food Network drives me a bit batty but I’ll give her this…first, I love her name (says Barbara Anne) and yes, these are amazingly fabulous meatballs. Not having any breadcrumbs or desiring to dry out bread and make some, I substituted panko crumbs for the breadcrumbs called for in her recipe and it was so perfect that I think THEY need to be the norm.
I mean so perfect I could have eaten them alone without spaghetti or sauce but I have to tell you that the classic Tomato, Butter and Onion sauce from the late, great Marcella Hazan that I had on hand was phenomenal with them. A simple sauce made from only those three ingredients, it was divine. Known and loved by many, it’s a great recipe to have on hand when you want something easy and yet so tasty. With these meatballs. Heaven on a plate I tell ya!
I make meatballs a good size; I used a scale and measured them each at 2 oz; serving two per person was the perfect meal for everyone with the salad and bread. Each one was about 2″ in diameter and my two pounds of meat made 16; plenty to have some leftover meatballs to freeze for a quick meal on another day.
As a matter of fact, next week I’m sharing the Meatball Sub Sandwiches we enjoyed with these…don’t miss them either!
If you’ve already been combining ground pork with your ground beef to make meatballs; try the pork Italian sausage next time. I bet you’ll enjoy it as much as we did. I added some mushrooms to the sauce and we loved the combination but I’m sure it’s just as delicious if you are not fond of the fungi. Let me know though if you agree that these truly are the best meatballs EVER!
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Perfect Meatballs with Ground Beef and Italian Sausage
- 2-3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- One pinch of crushed red pepper
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lb pork Italian sausage
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup water
- Coat a large saute pan with olive oil, add the chopped onion and bring to a medium-high heat. Season the onion generously with salt and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes until soft and aromatic but not long enough to brown.
- Add the garlic and the crushed red pepper and saute for another 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to cool.
- In a large bowl use your hands to squish together the meats, eggs, Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.
- Add the cooled onion mixture, season generously with salt and mix everything up a bit more.
- Add the water and do a final squish; the mixture should be quite wet.
- If you want to test your seasoning; take a bit of the mix and cook it in a skillet with a small amount of olive oil; add more salt to your mixture if needed.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Shape the meat into desired size meatballs. I make mine approximately 1.5 - 2" diameter.
- Coat a large saute pan with olive oil and bring to medium-high heat. Brown the meatballs on all sides. Place them on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil and bake them in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked all the way through.
- Serve over pasta and finish them with your favorite sauce. Top with Parmesan cheese and enjoy!!
Anyone zany enough to try this with the HOT Italian ground sausage? I may just have to give it a shot but might go with 2 lbs ground beef to 1 pound of ground sausage so it’s not too overbearing spice-wise, at least the first time I make just to see. I also just discovered how good San Marzano tomatoes are so I’ll simmer them in that, low and slow.
You’re getting into the area of personal preference now so I would not have concluded that in my recipe but certainly try it if you like things a little bit spicier.
YUMMY! Thanks for sharing!
These sound good but, being from NY, I brown mine and they go right in the sauce to cook for a LONG time. No oven for me, though I’m sure it works for a lot of people. Add some onion and green pepper to the sauce to compliment the sausage. Delicious!
Testimony to how we each have such individual tastes…maybe the only food in the world I can’t stand is green bell peppers which means I have to stick to mine! The oven does work and I love how the meat cooks so easily without spattering all over the kitchen. Different strokes right? 🙂
Hello! I just came home with a pound each of lean ground beef and mild Italian sausage and searched for a meatball recipe using both; looking forward to making your great-looking recipe tonight for a serious 9-year-old meatball enthusiast! (Don’t tell him, but I extend my meatball mixture by adding generous portions of finely minced mushroom, zucchini, and/or baby spinach leaves. Makes me happy to fill the meatballs out with some secret veggies.)
We’ll try the butter tomato sauce recipe next time, but for now I guess I’ll just simmer a tablespoon of butter into Mr. Paul Newman’s marinara and say that’s good enough!
My husband and I both loved these meatballs! I used some of them in spaghetti, others for meatball subs, and I used the rest in a mini meatball soup recipe. We just had the soup tonight, and it’s going on the list of easy favorites. I plan to keep a batch of these in the freezer, ready for several quick meals with little prep. Thank you so much for the best meatball recipe. I’m happy I found you!
I’m jealous, I wish I had had some in the freezer last week so I think I’m going to follow your lead now and do just that.
Last week I shared a pizza dough recipe that uses beer so it’s ready to go into the oven in about 15 minutes and the first pizza I made was one that I recreated from a local independent pizza shop. The only problem was that one of the ingredients I get there is meatballs and I didn’t have any so I used bacon instead. That was good but I still want to have it with meatballs. I just published it today so you might want to take a look. If you had meatballs on hand it could be spinach, artichoke, mushrooms, red onions, and meatballs!
Thanks so much for taking the time to comment Joni, I do love hearing from people that made something they enjoyed.
I’m back to make these meatballs for the freezer today…meatball pizza? What a great idea. I’ll have to look for your crust recipe. Thanks again!
You made me crave my meatballs so I made two pounds worth and froze them! Funny how that works hmm? 🙂
Wow!! I just made this meat ball, they are so good. Thank you so much.
You are most welcome; glad you enjoy them too!
These are delicious. I’ve made them twice now and will be pulling my final stash of meatballs from the freezer for dinner tonight.
I have been experimenting meatball recipes for some time now and this is a winner. However, I will need to confess. It always cracks me up when people comment about how great a recipe is then they say “ BUT I changed the “X” ingredient to Y ingredient ……”. Oops, I did the same this time. I only had Asiago cheese so I used that instead of Parmesan cheese. Delicious! Thanks for a superb meatball recipe. For sure a repeat recipe with Parmesan :).
I actually encourage the modifying and trying new things…unless they come and complain which I’m so lucky I never get. I imagine Asiago was wonderful in it! Thanks so much for letting me know; it’s nice to hear from people who try my recipes…especially if they love them too! Much appreciated…Barb
Flavor is really good. I love a good meatball. The only drawback for me is the salt. Seems to be a little too salty.
I didn’t notice that…I sometimes think I undersalt things to make sure they’re not too salty, thinking it easier to correct if someone wants more. Luckily you can note that correction and I’ll take note too next time I make them, thanks for the feedback!
I think these are my favorite meatballs ever. I only had bison and added some Italian seasoning but left everything else the same. Great recipe
I’m so glad you enjoyed them!
I love the idea of adding pork Italian sausage into meatballs. For some reason I associate spaghetti and meatballs with cool weather but I don’t think I can wait for that to try this recipe! 🙂
They were so good Amanda…and worth a few minutes of oven time…though if it had been too hot here? I would have tried putting then in a pan on the grill too…I’m crazy like that. 🙂
Looks perfect Barb. My family loves meatballs.
They were so good…I have never thought to include seasoned Italian sausage before and I thought it made such a difference while not tasting like Italian sausage either. Seriously loved them so much I’ve already made another batch for the freezer for my new meatball craving!
LOL! This is pretty much my EXACT recipe I use for meatballs and they ARE delicious!!! 🙂
We’ll have to just call them Colorado Meatballs then!
Should I cook the meatballs before I freeze them
I have Hattie; I like that I can pull them from the freezer and have them ready to go in minutes!
I have those very same two packages in my freezer right now. How alike we are. So alike I might just make meatballs. GREG
That looks beautiful and I love that dish! Adding the sausage in place of veal makes perfect sense to me as I do not buy/eat veal. Great recipe, thanks….:)
I love meatballs…. mine are baked from beginning to end… no frying. Love the sound of your sauce!
I loved the sort of crunchy crust that comes from frying them a bit but either way is fine I’m sure. The sauce has to be tried; 3 simple ingredients do not seem capable of making something so decadent.
My whole family are meatball lovers. They are going to love me (and you) for this.
I do hope you make them, they were truly delicious.
I love Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce. So easy and so good. I make it all the time
Isn’t it just the best? It was perfect here too; no reason to compete with spices; it just accentuated the rest of the dish perfectly.
It’s weird, but I almost never make meat balls! And I loved them when I was growing up. But somewhere along the line I became a meat sauce person, and just never looked back. I love a good meatball hero, though, so I really should make these — they’d be perfect! Thanks for this.
Me either John…but I’m telling you these were so good you’ll be like me I bet. Craving them when they’re gone! 🙂
I love a good meatball! Every now and then I skip the step of browning them first and simply bake them– big mistake– I’ve learned my lesson. I make meatballs year round; they freeze so well that they make a quick and easy meal for me. Yours do look perfect!
That does make a difference doesn’t it? They could be finished on the stove but it was nice to scoot them out of the way and work on the pasta and sauce without them intruding. 🙂
I love meatballs either on top of spaghetti or stuffed inside a bread roll. John, on the other hand, doesn’t share the love so I rarely make them just for myself. After looking at these photos I’m gonna do it!
Yes do it…John can fix himself a sandwich of sorts while you enjoy one of these. He is a crazy pants!! 🙂
I haven’t had good meatballs since I last ate my Mom’s homemade spaghetti and meatballs. I remember that she always pan fried hers so seeing that you browned yours first and then baked them really has me intrigued. They look wonderful and I think using the Panko crumbs was a great idea, as was using the two types of meat.
I can not remember the last time I had some Paula…funny how the desire to make something hits us isn’t it…but so glad I made these. Craving more of them so bad!