CNYEats A Taste of Utica Meatballs

by Joanne on February 6, 2011

Everyone loves meatballs.  Even vegetarians love meatless meatballs.  This we, our book A Taste of Utica


offers six  (6) meatball recipes.  Get ready. Get set.  Lets go!  *Links to Utica sauce offered after the meatball recipes.


Recipe 1:  Meatballs page 101 by Patsy Pirillo  *This was the recipe made by Apple Crumbles.  Since the writer doesn’t eat meat, the “taste tester” who does offers the following: “The meatballs were different but very, very good”.  **As a meatless meatball suggestion, use MorningStar Farms Soy Crumbles and add all the other ingredients. If you don’t eat dairy, replace the milk with water.


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb Italian sausage
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup reggiano Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 6 slices of bread
  • milk
  • chopped garlic to taste

Soak bread in milk and squeeze out excess.  Tear the bread into pieces.  Add all ingredients in a bowl and mix with your hands. Form into meatballs. Cook in olive oil long enough to hold shape. Finish in tomato sauce.

Recipe 2:  Italian Meatballs page 101 by Gerry


This is also the way I make mine but always use fresh parsley and garlic.  I never added oregano but use pre-seasoned Italian bread crumbs so maybe not necessary.  Quote from Angela

I agree you got to have fresh garlic and Italian flat leaf parsley.  We also mix in chopped pork and turkey to keep the fat content down.  This is definitely the old time recipe, that’s for sure.  We just made a batch of them a few weekend sago and stuck them in the freezer for convenience.  They’re soooo good!.  Quote by Michael Labombarda

  • 1 lb hamburger
  • 3 – 4 slices of bread soaked or 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 TBS parsley
  • 1/4 cup grated cheese
  • 1 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper

Mix by hand:   form into balls, lay on cookie sheet and brown in an oven at 375 degrees or fry in olive oil on top of stove until brown.  Put meatballs into sauce and simmer.

I sometimes substitute the dry mixture of Italian Seasoning for the oregano, which kicks it up a notch.  Also squeeze the soaked bread and tear it apart before mixing.  In the summer, I also use fresh herbs, but right now in Syracuse, NY my parsley is under the snow.  Start with this recipe and create it to your taste buds with a little more or less.  – by Gerry

Recipe 3:  Meatballs – page 102 An Oliva Family Recipe  by Fat Sal

  • 3/4 lb ground beef 
  • 3/4 lb ground pork
  • 3 – 4 slices of bread (soaked in water and squeezed)
  • 1 egg
  • garlic (minced)
  • fresh parsley
  • fresh basil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated cheese

Mix ingredients.  Roll into balls.  Fry in olive oil until browned.  Let cool on paper towel lined plate.


Recipe 4:  Meatballs – page 102 by Chris

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • handful chopped parsley (use fresh)

Mix all ingredients together.  Shape into round balls and fry in hot oil until evenly browned. 

Of course a mixture of veal and pork will taste better but the ground works just as well. – by Chris

Recipe 5:  Meatballs – page 103 by Nicotera75

I can give you my ingredients, but exact measurements are impossible, everything is done by texture, smell, and consistency.  I’ve been doing it for so long I can get it exact every time without even tasting the mix (which was how I was taught to do it, but mad cow disease has ended that tradition). – by Nicotera

  • 2 parts ground beef
  • 1 part ground pork
  • 1 part ground veal
  • eggs (1 – 3 depending on how much meat you use)
  • Italian bread
  • grated Romano and Parmesan cheese to taste
  • fresh garlic to taste
  • fresh onion chopped very fine to taste
  • fresh parsley chopped very fine to taste
  • fresh oregano chopped very fine to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste

The secret it this… your loaf of Italian bread the day before.  Slice it in half lengthwise; like you were making garlic bread and lay it in your oven (turned off) until you are ready to make your meatballs.   When you are ready to make th emeatballs, take the now dried out bread out of the oven and soak it in water.  When you are ready to mix your ingredients together, squeeze out the water and gradually add bread to the mix until you have an even, easy to mold consistency.

This recipe, if you weren’t raised making it, will take some experimentation to get it exactly how you want it, but if you have a head for cooking it will be easy to figure out after a couple of tries.

I always fry mine in about an inch of extra virgin olive oil.  Seasoned cast iron is the way to go, but if you don’t have that any frying pan will do.  It is better to fry them before you put them into your sauce because they are less likely to fall apart that way.  I also spoon about a quarter to half cup of the leftover meatball grease into my sauce for flavor, but that’s just me…… – by Nicotera75

Recipe 6: Hj’s Meatballs – by HJ


Tasty-Juicy-flavorful-light meatballs eat by themselves or with your favorite gravy/sauce or in a sandwich.

  • 2 lbs meat – 1 lb lean ground beef and 1 lb sweet Italian Sausage – remove casings first.
  • 2 large eggs, beat lightly
  • 3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs, about 1 day old soaked in some milk – torn up into pieces.
  • 1/2 cup Romano cheese..grated or more
  • 1/4 cup Kraft Real Mayonnaise
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dash of red crushed pepper
  • 1/4 cup parsley, fresh, chopped

Good extra virgin olive oil to fry meatballs in a large skillet.

Large bowl add: eggs, breadcrumbs, Romano cheese, mayo, garlic, salt, pepper, red crushed pepper, parsley in a large bowl.  Add meats and mix thoroughly.  Form mixture into large meatballs about the size of golf balls or whatever you prefer.

In a heavy skillet, coat the bottom with olive oil. heat over medium-low heat and add meatballs, a few at a time, don’t over crowd.  Fry until brown and cooked through (only if eating with no sauce. if adding sauce, you can slightly undercook and allow to finish in the sauce). Add more oil as needed, or put in the oven with a drip like pan on a rack.  Broil until browned, turning half way.   Add to favorite sauce or cook in your own sauce.

Note:  You might adjust the breadcrumbs or mayo and want more cheese or less but when you form the meatballs to size, they should not be real stiff and dry nor mushy.  – tip from HJ

Make your sauce:

Michigan Sauce

Pizza sauce

All red sauces

Next week, another meat lovers fantasy:  Roast Bacon.

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