Photo: Dana Gallagher Photo by: Photo: Dana Gallagher

Big Spicy Meatballs

This freezer-friendly meatball recipe makes Italian night a breeze. You can make the meatballs just before using, or make them in a large batch and freeze them for later. These delicately-spiced meatballs get their bold flavor from Italian seasoning, fresh herbs, and Parmesan cheese.

Real Simple DECEMBER 2004

  • Yield: Makes 16 large meatballs (Serving size: 1 meatball)
  • Prep time:20 Minutes
  • Other:40 Minutes


  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 pounds ground pork
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2 slices soft bread, crusts removed and torn into pieces
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan
  • 3 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta


Preheat oven to 400° F.

In a large bowl, combine the first 10 ingredients, 1 cup of the Parmesan, and 2 teaspoons of the pepper. Mix just to combine. Shape the mixture into 16 to 18 large meatballs (each should be about ¾ cup of meat). Place on a baking pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta with the remaining Parmesan and the remaining pepper; set aside.

Bake the meatballs for 20 minutes in upper third of oven. Remove from oven and turn on broiler. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the ricotta mixture onto each meatball. Broil 3 to 5 minutes or until the ricotta just starts to brown. Serve the meatballs with jarred marinara sauce.

To Freeze: Omit the ricotta mixture. Place the baked meatballs on a baking sheet and freeze for at least 1 hour. Transfer to resealable freezer bags and return to the freezer. Store for up to 3 months.

To Reheat: Thaw the meatballs overnight in the refrigerator or thaw partially in the microwave. Place them in a baking dish, cover with foil, and heat in a 350° F oven for 20 minutes. Top with the ricotta mixture and broil as described above. Serve on top of the warmed pasta sauce.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calcium: 151mg
  • Calories: 342
  • Calories from fat: 61%
  • Carbohydrate: 4g
  • Cholesterol: 121mg
  • Fat: 23g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Iron: 2mg
  • Protein: 28mg
  • Saturated fat: 9g
  • Sodium: 627mg

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Big Spicy Meatballs recipe