Nana Ortenzia’s Meatballs


My Nonna and mother can make some pretty mean meatballs, and I felt I had to follow suit. These are moist and tasty just like Nana’s, we use Nana in our family when we talk about my Nonna. Terms of endearment that have always stuck around. I’ve made them for friends and family and they just love them!

 Print Recipe


  • 8 oz (250 g) each ground veal and pork
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 3 cups (750 mL) homemade or store-bought pasta sauce



Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a baking sheet with foil.

In a large bowl, mix together veal, pork, breadcrumbs, egg, parsley, Parmesan, garlic, salt and red pepper flakes until well combined. Using wet hands roll meat mixture into 1-inch (2.5 cm) balls. Place on a prepared sheet.

Bake in oven for about 12 minutes or until no longer pink inside, but not browned.

Meanwhile, heat pasta sauce over medium heat. Add meatballs to sauce and boil gently for about 10 minutes. Serve with pasta or in a bun.

Makes about 24 meatballs.

Tip: If you don’t have fresh breadcrumbs, soak some stale bread in milk or water and break up into small pieces and add to meat mixture.

Courtesy of Emily Richards, from her book Per La Famiglia: Memories and Recipes of Southern Italian Home Cooking