There's a new a crop of restaurants popping up in NYC that specialize in meatballs. The first to come to the scene was the Meatball Shop in the Lower East Side. I just went to their second location in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and on their front door it says "We Make Balls." Yes they do and they do it well. I loved their beef meatballs with a side of ziti and a spicy arugula salad with olive oil and lemon. My favorite meatballs however are made with pork, veal and beef. I think the veal makes them extra tender. Sadly the Meatball Shop has no such ball. Theirs are typically made with single meats, like beef, pork and chicken. So I decided to make my own.
These are easy to make and instead of frying them, I bake them in the oven so they're a little better for you. Here's what you'll need.
1/3 pound each of veal, pork and beef
1 large egg
1 clove of garlic
1/2 yellow onion
1/4 cup of Panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan (don't even think of using the stuff that comes in the green can)
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tablespoon of fresh chopped parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons of milk (I used skim but just use whatever you have on hand)
Using a food processor, finely chop the onion, garlic and thyme. You can use a knife and chop it by hand, but I like a very fine chop for the meatballs so you're not biting into a chunk of garlic or onion.
Mix together all of the remaining ingredients, being careful to incorporate everything thoroughly, but avoid over-mixing. The meat can get tough that way, so use your hands or a rubber spatula. Take about 2 tablespoons of the mixture and roll in the palm of your hand so you have a tight little meatball. This recipe will make about 40-50 mini meatballs.
Bake at 375 for 15 minutes, turning over after the first 10 minutes. The meatballs freeze well so place them uncooked/raw on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Once they are frozen, transfer them into a freezer bag and store in your freezer. You can cook however many you'd like whenever you want. They are great simmered in soups or in tomato sauces over pasta.