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Mama Mancini's Meatballs

This classic Italian recipe from chef Daniel Mancini is sure to become a favorite in your home.

  • Yield: Makes about 1 1/2 dozen
Mama Mancini's Meatballs

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, April 2009


For the Meatballs

  • 2 pounds ground beef chuck
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1 cup dried plain breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, for frying
  • 1 pound cooked spaghetti, for serving

For the Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 4 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled plum tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


  1. Make the sauce: Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until translucent. Using your hands, crush tomatoes and add to saucepan, along with their juices; stir to combine. Add bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Cover, bring to a boil, and immediately reduce to a simmer.

  2. Make the meatballs: Place beef, cheese, breadcrumbs, parsley, onion, eggs, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Gently mix together by hand to combine. Wet hands with cold water and roll meat mixture into 1 3/4-inch balls.

  3. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Working in batches if necessary, place meatballs in skillet. Cook until browned on all sides, but not cooked through. Transfer meatballs to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain.

  4. Transfer meatballs to sauce and gently stir from the bottom up to coat with sauce. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes. Uncover and reduce heat. Continue cooking, stirring every 15 minutes, for 3 hours more. Serve with spaghetti, sprinkled with more cheese, if desired.

Reviews (5)

  • gitinoam 25 Oct, 2010

    Unfortunately I don't share the same enthusiasm about these meatballs. We made them last night for dinner and both my husband and I felt that they were just ok.

  • Fleur-de-Lisa 27 Nov, 2009

    My husband and I just LOVE this recipe. I've made it several times since seeing it on TV with Martha and Chef Mancini. In fact, I've got some on the stove right now. This recipe is good for 4 meals for the two of us. We will eat it tonight and then for leftovers tomorrow (or the next day) and the other two portions I will freeze today for easy and delicious meals in the future.

  • lek134 12 Nov, 2009

    I've made these meatballs a few times and they are the best recipe I've found yet! I think they are just as good as my husband's Grandmother's meatballs that no one can replicate!

  • Christinejacks 22 Apr, 2009

    I found these meatballs in a small grocery on the upper west side. They are fantastic just like my sicilian grandmother's. And so smartly packaged with the sauce. No other frozen meatball gives the sauce. All you need to do is boil pasta and dinner is done. Can't wait to try out this recipe!

  • vanessav22 22 Apr, 2009

    Ive ordered these meatballs from and they are AWESOME!!!!

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