These meatballs al forno are packed with flavor and baked to perfection in the oven. They’re made with a hearty tomato sauce and are best served with a side of Caesar salad and toasty bread.
For the Meatballs:
- 1 lb (454 g) lean ground beef, we use 90% lean ground beef sirloin
- 1 lb (454 g) ground pork
- 3/4 cup (114 g) breadcrumbs
- 1 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tbsp dried Italian parsley
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 2 1/4 tsp dried basil
- 1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 3 tbsp grated parmesan
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) whole milk
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
For the Sauce:
- 1 cup (140 g) yellow onion, diced
- 3/4 cup (119 g) green bell pepper, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) dry white wine
- 1/4 cup (64 g) tomato paste
- 1 28-oz (794 g) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 3/4 cup (430 ml) water
- 1/4 cup (12 g) fresh basil, chopped, loosely packed
For the Meatballs:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then add the beef and pork to a large mixing bowl. Don’t mix it just yet.
- In a small bowl, add the breadcrumbs, herbs and spices, and parmesan. Mix to combine.
- In another small bowl or in a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the eggs and milk until fully combined.
- Pour half of the breadcrumb mixture onto the meat followed by the egg mixture.
- Using your hands (with food gloves), mix the meat to incorporate the spices and egg mixture. Give it a few mixes then add the remaining breadcrumbs and mix until thoroughly combined. Be careful to overwork the meat.
- Begin rolling your meatballs into 1.5-2 inch (4-5 cm) spheres. Once you’re done rolling, you should have 20 meatballs. Set them aside on the prepared baking sheet.
- In a deep oven-safe skillet, heat 1/4 cup (60 ml) of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs, lining them around the pan. Brown each side for 2-3 minutes then remove them from the pan and set aside on a baking sheet.
For the Sauce:
- Reduce the heat slightly so that it’s in between medium-high and medium. Add the diced onion, bell pepper, and minced garlic. Cook for 3-5 minutes until softened and fragrant.
- Add the spices (minus the fresh basil) and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
- Add the wine and scrape any bits off the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to low.
- Stir in the tomato paste then add the crushed tomatoes, 2 tbsp of olive oil, water, and fresh basil. Stir to combine.
- Return the meatballs to the sauce and cover with a lid.
- Place the covered pan in the oven and cook for 45 minutes or until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C).
- Top with freshly grated parmesan and serve warm.
Make sure the pan you’re using is oven-safe and that it’s deep enough to hold the sauce and meatballs.
Be careful not to overmix the meat. Doing so will make the meatballs tough and dense.
- Serving Size: 2 meatballs with sauce
- Calories: 410
- Sugar: 5.9 g
- Sodium: 653.8 mg
- Fat: 26.8 g
- Carbohydrates: 20.3 g
- Fiber: 3.6 g
- Protein: 22.6 g
Keywords: meatballs al forno, baked Italian meatballs