Mo’s Meatballs

Sauteing individual meatballs is not only messy, but time consuming. Baking them is the way to go. And who doesn’t love a good meatball? BTW, I’m Mo. We go way back.

Makes about 48 meatballs


Recipe by Mary Nolan

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 medium onion, small dice (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup soft bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey (not fat free)
  • 1 pound ground beef (80/20)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese, plus more for serving
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Red sauce and spaghetti for serving**
  1. Heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a saute pan and cook onion, stirring frequently, until softened and translucent, about 15-20 minutes (if it seems dry at any point, add another splash of oil–you don’t want it to brown). Using a microplane (or just mince the garlic if you don’t have a microplane), grate the garlic into the saute pan with the onion. Stir and cook 2 minutes more. Add the oregano, red pepper flake, and salt. Stir and remove from heat. Allow to come to room temperature before proceeding (I use this time to make my breadcrumbs and grate my cheese)*
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. (Put your pasta water on the stove now if you are planning on eating when these when they come out of the oven.) Place the breadcrumbs in a large mixing bowl and add the milk. Allow breadcrumbs to absorb the milk, about 5 minutes. Add the onion mixture, ground turkey and beef, cheese, eggs, and parsley. Mix well; using your hands works best. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with foil or baking mats (like Silpat). Scoop 2 tablespoons of the mixture and roll into a ball (a 1 oz scoop will save you a lot of time doing this; I LOVE scoops). Line up on a baking sheet; you should have about 24 per sheet.
  3. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, rotating halfway through. While meatballs are baking, cook your spaghetti and bring the sauce to a simmer on the stove** Drain pasta and toss with a drizzle of olive oil in the pasta pot. Add the meatballs to the sauce. Ladle a little sauce onto the pasta and toss. Divide pasta among bowls and top with meatballs. Top with additional cheese and drizzle with olive oil. Inhale. 


*I make my own breadcrumbs in the food processor using stale, crustless bread. Then I use my food processor (just wipe it out to remove any stray breadcrumbs) to grate Parmesan that I buy in bulk from Costco. Store-bought fresh breadcrumbs (unseasoned) and pre-grated parm will work just fine, too.

**I usually freeze at least half of the meatballs for later use. One 32-oz jar of sauce works well for half of the meatballs. You’ll need 1 to 1 1/4 pounds of pasta for this amount of meatballs, depending on your eaters. This amount (half batch of meatballs) serves 4-5 people.