Meatballs and Italian Gravy

Servings: 4 

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes


Ingredients for Gravy:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 – 32 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 dry bay leaf
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Ingredients for Meatballs:

  • 2 slices soft white bread, torn or cut into cubes
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly scrambled
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 tablespoons Grana Padano parmesan cheese, freshly grated (plus more for garnish)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil, for cooking


  1. To make the Italian Gravy: Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the onion and saute until translucent, approximately 10 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds or until aromatic. Add the celery and carrot along with a generous pinch of salt and fresh ground black pepper; cook until soft and tender, approximately 10 minutes.
  3. Pour in the crushed tomatoes and bay leaf and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat to medium and allow the sauce to cook, uncovered, until it thickens, approximately 30 minutes.
  4. To make the Meatballs: In a large bowl combine the bread cubes and milk; let stand for 5 minutes. Once the bread is soggy add the egg, parsley, oregano, garlic and parmesan cheese. Mix until evenly combined. Add the ground beef, a couple pinches of salt and fresh ground black pepper. Use your hands or a wooden spoon to combine everything.
  5. Form into golf ball size rounds. Refrigerate while getting the pan ready.
  6. In a large, deep skillet on medium high heat add enough olive oil to generously cover the bottom. Once the oil is shimmering and hot, carefully place the meatballs into the pan. You will have to do this in batches to ensure that you don’t overcrowd the pan. Cook until deep, dark brown all around, approximately 7 minutes. Don’t worry about them being cooked all the way through right now; they’ll finish cooking in the sauce.
  7. Once all the meatballs have been browned, lower the heat to medium. Carefully nestle all the meatballs into the pan and add enough Italian gravy to cover. Allow the meatballs to simmer for 12 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165F.
  8. Garnish with more freshly grated Grana Padano and serve with your favorite pasta.



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