Eat and Drink Learn to make The Meatball Shop's classic meatballs By MELISSA KRAVITZ firstname.lastname@example.org Updated March 9, 2016 10:59 AM Print Share fbShare Tweet Email Self-proclaimed as America's Meatball Expert, The Meatball Shop's executive chef and co-owner Daniel Holzman teaches us to make meatballs. And they're really good! Check out our easy step-by-step recipe and whip up a batch for yourself. Ingredients: 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 pounds 80% lean ground beef 1 cup ricotta cheese 2 large eggs ½ cup bread crumbs ½ cup chopped fresh parsley 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried 2 teaspoons salt ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes ½ teaspoon ground fennel Makes about 2 dozen 1 ½ -inch meatballs Get ready to make some balls... Photo Credit: Melissa Kravitz Get all ingredients ready. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Drizzle the olive oil into a 9×13-inch baking dish and use your hand to evenly coat the entire surface. Set aside. Finely chop your herbs Photo Credit: Melissa Kravitz Chop chop chop! Combine herbs and meat in a large mixing bowl Photo Credit: Melissa Kravitz Chef Holzman adds them one at a time -- for prettiness-- but you don't have to. Once you master meatball making, you can sub out the herbs for different flavor profiles, like a Moroccan spice blend or garlic and fennel seed for an Italian sausage riff. Add your breadcrumbs and eggs Photo Credit: Melissa Kravitz Chef Holzman cracks both eggs at once - one in each hand - up for the challenge? It's time to add the cheese!!! Photo Credit: Melissa Kravitz Don't be afraid to give it a squeeze before you add the ricotta to the mixing bowl. Holzman likes ricotta because it adds fluffiness and fat to make moist meatballs, but other cheeses like pecorino will make a denser meatball. Mix it all up! Photo Credit: Melissa Kravitz Rubber gloves are optional, but remember to wash your hands before and after handling raw meat. Get your hands dirty! Photo Credit: Melissa Kravitz Knead the meat mixture until it looks like a giant raw meatball, when all the ingredients are combined. Fry up a test patty. Photo Credit: Melissa Kravitz Heat a pan with a light coating of olive oil and fry up a slider-sized patty of meatball. Cook it through. Taste it! Photo Credit: Melissa Kravitz Since you obviously can't eat raw ground beef, this is your only opportunity to see if your meatballs will be delicious. Taste the test patty to determine if your meatballs lack salt or spice and adjust your meat mixture accordingly. You don't want to end up with a batch of 24 underseasoned meatballs! Measure your meatballs Photo Credit: Melissa Kravitz Use an ice cream scoop to help proportion the meatballs to about 1 1/2 inches each, or the size of golf balls. Roll the balls. Photo Credit: Melissa Kravitz Roll the mixture into round meatballs, making sure to pack the meat firmly. Place the balls in the prepared baking dish, being careful to line them up snugly and in even rows vertically and horizontally to form a grid. A perfect tray will look like this: Photo Credit: Melissa Kravitz The meatballs should be touching one another. Bake your balls. Photo Credit: Melissa Kravitz Roast for 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through. A meat thermometer inserted into the center of a meatball should read 165°F. While your meatballs are cooking... Photo Credit: Melissa Kravitz Make pasta! Chef Holzman recommends cooking pasta for two minutes less than the box suggests, draining the pasta and then returning it to the pot to cook in the sauce for a final two minutes. This way, the pasta will absorb the sauce and be perfectly al dente! Are you ready to eat some meatballs? Photo Credit: Melissa Kravitz They're best served right out of the oven! You can also keep the meatballs in the fridge for up to five days or sealed in the freezer for up to three months. Serve them over spaghetti... Photo Credit: Melissa Kravitz Spaghetti with a chance of meatballs is a risk we're willing to take. ...or over polenta! Photo Credit: Melissa Kravitz Whatever you do, we recommend The Meatball Shop's classic tomato sauce recipe. Ingredients: ¼ cup olive oil 1 onion, finely diced 1 bay leaf 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano or ½ teaspoon dried 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped 2 teaspoons salt or to taste 2 tablespoons tomato paste Two 26-ounce boxes Pomi Chopped Tomatoes or two 28-ounch cans whole plum tomatoes, chopped with their liquid Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, bay leaf, oregano, garlic, and salt and cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stir constantly until the sauce begins to boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour, stirring every 5 minutes or so to prevent the sauce on the bottom of the pot from burning. Taste and season with additional salt, if desired. Remove the bay leaf before serving. Buon Appetito! Photo Credit: Melissa Kravitz Thanks, chef! By MELISSA KRAVITZ email@example.com Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Comments We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.