Chris’ Take On Mom’s Meatballs

italian meatballs

I remember as a kid coming home from school, going into the kitchen, and seeing Mom cooking up a batch of her home made spaghetti sauce and meatballs. There was always a big fresh loaf of Italian bread sitting right next to the pot, and of course I had to rip off a chunk of it, dip it into that hot tomato sauce, and sample the deliciousness.

Sometimes I got to have a meatball too, which for some reason always tasted so much better right out of the pot than at dinner time on my plate. Heck, they still do.

When I first returned home from Japan and started cooking again (rather, cooking with the kinds of ingredients I had grown up with) I set about to make Mom’s meatballs. Only, there was a problem. The recipe wasn’t written down and Mom didn’t know the measurements she used. She just kind of adds the ingredients until it looks “right”.

italian meatballs

This recipe we share with you today is my take on my Mom’s meatballs. Over the years I’ve adapted the “recipe” to make it my own. And just like Mom, I wasn’t notating ingredient measurements. I’ve finally started to do that though, so today I can share with you an actual recipe.

The biggest change in my recipe over my Mom’s, and maybe your own, is that I use the inside of Italian bread, mashed up with milk, in my meat mixture. I still use bread crumbs, but the inclusion of the Italian bread adds a different texture and flavor to the meatballs. I also find that it “lightens up” the meatballs. Not calorie wise, but rather in density. I’ve had meatballs that are super solid – not a fan. These meatballs break apart at the touch of the fork.

As I was making these meatballs, Baby Boy was all about watching what I was doing. Then, later on in the day when the sauce and meatballs were finished, he watched me again as I put a meatball and some sauce in a bowl to sample with some crusty bread. Before I could even get the first bite in my mouth he pointed and said “Dat” – what he says when he wants what we’re eating.

I guess things have come full circle. Just as I used to watch my Mom cook and enjoyed sampling the meatballs fresh from the pot, Baby Boy does the same with me. As we sat there eating our meatballs and sauce, I looked at my little boy and thought “How awesome” :)

italian meatballs

Chris’ Take On Mom’s Meatballs


  • 2 lbs pork/veal/beef tri-meat
  • 2 cups shredded inside of Italian bread
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoons basil
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • Olive Oil for cooking


  1. Rip out and shred the inside of a loaf of Italian bread to yield about 2 cups. In a bowl, mash bread insides with 3/4 cup milk to create an almost bread paste. Add in meat and all remaining ingredients. Mix, with hands if preferred, to combine.
  2. Form meat mixture into balls approximately the size of golf balls. I prefer my meatballs not dense and almost falling apart, so I shape them with a light touch. Make them as you prefer.
  3. Heat a large pot and pour just enough olive oil to coat the bottom. In two or three batches so as to not overcrowd, add meatballs and cook over medium high heat, turning to brown. (You may find tongs helpful).
  4. Remove cooked meatballs to paper towels to wick off excessive oil.
  5. Add meatballs into your favorite homemade pasta sauce recipe to finish cooking or bake at 350 degrees for 10 - 15 minutes until cooked through.

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