These Classic Cheesy Italian Meatballs are the satisfying but healthy answer to your Italian food cravings. Deeply flavorful, thanks to three kinds of meat and a long, slow caramelization in the oven, these meatballs happen to be gluten-free and keto-friendly. Slowly simmered house marinara and a sprinkle of extra cheese on top turns this dish into a melty, flavor-packed dinner.
Yield: 18-20 meatballs
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 onions, diced, divided
Salt, to taste
4 garlic cloves, minced, divided
½ pound ground beef
½ pound ground veal
½ pound ground pork
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup grated Parmigiano, plus more for serving
¼ cup fresh Italian parsley, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Pinch crushed red pepper
Black pepper, to taste
2 (28-ounce) cans San Marzano diced tomatoes
1 cup grated whole milk mozzarella, for serving
Fresh basil, minced, for serving
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet. When hot, add one onion and cook, stirring, until soft but not colored, about 6 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Add two garlic cloves and cook for another minute or two, until fragrant. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the beef, veal, pork, eggs, cheese, parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, red pepper, cooled onion mixture, a large pinch of salt, and black pepper to taste. Use your hands to combine everything without overworking it.
- Shape the meat into meatballs on a baking sheet and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, make the marinara sauce. Heat a saucepan with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. When shimmering, add the remaining onion and a big pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until very soft. Add the remaining 2 garlic cloves and cook for another minute or two, until fragrant. Add the canned tomatoes and another pinch of salt, bring to a simmer, and cook for 1 hour, until the flavor is deep and robust. Taste and season with salt.