DeMichele Family Meatballs

Meatballs – what a glorious creation! The perfect pairing with tomato sauce, meatballs deserve to be tender, juicy, and flavorful as can be. Some of my most precious memories in the kitchen with my Dad include squishing the meat mixture with my hands and rolling it into meatballs. I can still hear my high-pitched laughter and feel the slimy eggs between my fingers. I would thrust my meat-covered hands in front of my Dad’s face, always this close to mischievously patting his cheek with them. Now when I make meatballs by myself, with my boyfriend, or with friends, those memories come rushing back. Happiness takes over as I build memories in the kitchen and create a culinary masterpiece. Yes, these meatballs are that magical.

Glorious Meatballs Frying
Glorious Meatballs Frying

DeMichele Family Meatballs

  • 1/2 pound of ground pork (for every pound of meat)
  • 1/2 pound of ground turkey (for every pound of meat)
  • 1 cup grated cheese (parmesan or pecorino romano, preferably)
  • 2 eggs (for every pound of meat)
  • one handful of fresh parsley (or 3-4 tablespoons of dried parsley)
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • vegetable oil for frying

1. For every pound of meat, use a half pound of ground pork and a half pound of ground turkey (ground dark meat is best – ground turkey breast is too dry).

2. Mix pork and turkey slightly with your hands in a large bowl.

3. Push the meat down in the bowl so that a crater-like shape forms in the meat.

4. Wash those hands!

5. It’s time to season the meat. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, a little pepper, and garlic powder.

6. Add one cup of grated cheese and 2 eggs per one pound of meat.

7. Add bread crumbs (fresh or dried). You want the mixture to feel sticky but not too wet that you cannot form the meat into balls. A safe bet is to start with 1/2 cup of crumbs.

8. Add a handful or parsley (3-4 tablespoons of dried parsley if not fresh).

9. Here comes the fun part. Squish the egg yolks and use your hands to incorporate all the ingredients. Push the meat to the bottom of the bowl and turn the mixture over. Repeat this motion until everything is evenly mixed.

10. Smell the mixture – this is important! Trust your instincts. Does it smell like meatballs? If it just smells like raw meat, then you’ll need to add more seasoning or grated cheese. If the mixture is too wet, add more bread crumbs.

11. Roll the meatballs to the size you desire. We usually make them pretty large so that they can cook slowly in the tomato sauce.

12. Bring the meatballs to the stove and let the meat get to room temperature before frying.

13. Take a large pan and coat the bottom with vegetable oil. Turn the heat on to medium-high. When the oil starts to shimmer, you can start frying. Turn the heat down to medium. Put the meatballs in slowly, and don’t overcrowd the pan. Overcrowding will make the heat go down too low.

14. Flip the meatballs when they become light brown in color. Once the other side is brown, fry the sides. You can lean the meatballs against one another so they stay upright.

15. Take the meatballs out of the frying pan once all sides are brown. When your tomato sauce is boiling, add the meat and cook the sauce for an hour to an hour and a half, depending on the size of your tomato sauce and meatball batch.

That’s it! Prepare to fall in love with every bite.

A Warm Welcome

Hello! Welcome to If That Dish Could Talk, my new food blog and labor of love.

My last name is entirely Italian, “DeMichele,” but I am actually half Italian, half Irish. Both sides of my family come steeped in culinary tradition. Growing up, Mom would cook my Irish grandmother’s casseroles and cookies, the hearty recipes my great grandmother made during the Depression. Dad learned how to cook from my Italian great grandmother, my Nonnie. Heart and tummy-warming soups (chicken, lentil, white bean and smoked ham, you name it) were always a winter staple, and let’s not forget my family’s four-generation old recipe for tomato sauce. If the DeMichele family is known for one thing, it is certainly our tomato sauce and meatballs.

The DeMichele Family Tomato Sauce with Meatballs
The DeMichele Family Tomato Sauce with Meatballs

While the very act of cooking is rich with nostalgic memories, I also treat my kitchen as my science lab. I experiment! Honestly, I know I’ve created a masterpiece when my kitchen is a complete and utter mess.

This is my kitchen (squeaky clean right as I moved in):

My little studio kitchen.
My little studio kitchen.

Yes, I live in a little studio in Boston. My dining table simultaneously functions as my chopping space. Interestingly enough, the tiny space has become endearing. It keeps me on my toes and makes cooking that much more fun and lively.

For my readers, here are a few things I believe:

  • I believe in using fresh, simple ingredients to make a nutritious meal packed with flavor.
  • I believe in growing your produce and/or attending your local farmer’s market when possible.
  • I believe in cultivating beautiful memories in the kitchen, even when failures (inevitably) occur. 
  • Most importantly, I believe everyone can cook and find their specialty recipes. 

Every dish has a story. My hope is to share many of these stories with you.