Classic Beef Meatballs

Daniel Holzman serves all types of meatballs at his restaurant The Meatball Shop in New York City – but there’s nothing quite like classic! Learn to make Daniel’s recipe for beef meatballs in your own kitchen, and pick up The Meatball Shop Cookbook for other types of meat (and meatless) balls recipes.

Use your favorite tomato sauce in this recipe, or buy Daniel Holzman’s Classic Tomato Sauce to get a true taste of how he makes his meatballs.

Classic Beef Meatballs
Makes about 24 (golf ball-sized) meatballs


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds (80% lean) ground beef
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon chile flake
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seed
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped oregano
2 teapsoons sea salt
4 cups classic tomato sauce, homemade or store-bought


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spread oil into a 9×12-inch baking dish, coating the entire surface.

2. In a large mixing bowl, mix by hand beef, ricotta, eggs, chile flake, fennel, breadcrumbs, parsley, oregano, and salt until well combined.

3. Firmly roll the mixture into round, golf-ball sized meatballs (about 1 1/2 inches in diameter). Place meatballs in tight, even rows (vertically and horizontally to form a grid) in the baking dish.

4. Cook until firm and cooked through, about 20 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, in a small pot over medium-high heat, warm tomato sauce, stirring constantly.

6. When the meatballs are firm and fully cooked, drain any excess grease from the pan and pour the sauce over the top, turning the meatballs to coat. Continue cooking another 14 minutes.


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