What’s the secret to a perfectly tender meatball? Bread! Fresh bread mixed with buttermilk makes these meatballs tender and delicious. Pair them with spaghetti and your favorite jarred marinara sauce for an easy weeknight dinner.
6 slices fresh white bread, crusts removed and bread cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 unpacked cups)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 medium onion, grated on the large holes of a box grater
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
¾ cup parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for serving.
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, minced
1¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 ounces pancetta, finely minced
2 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground fennel seed
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 27-ounce jar marinara sauce
In a medium bowl, combine bread with buttermilk, tossing to coat. Let stand, tossing occasionally, until bread is completely moist, about 10 minutes. Mash the bread with the back of a spoon to make a thick paste. If there are dry spots, add more buttermilk until bread is moistened throughout.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg until blended. Whisk in the salt and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper, then whisk in the Parmesan, oregano and parsley. Add the grated onion, garlic, pancetta and soaked bread; mix until combined.
Add the ground beef and pork to the egg mixture. Use your hands to gently mix the egg mixture into the ground meat. Try not to overwork the meat; gently pinch the meat between your fingers to mix.
Pinch off a piece of the meat mixture and gently roll between your hands to form 1 1/2-inch meatballs (about the size of a golf ball). Continue shaping until all the meat is used.
Arrange the meatballs spaced slightly apart on a baking sheet. Bake in a 400°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes. The meatballs are done when cooked through and the outsides are lightly browned, and when they register 155°F in the middle on an instant read thermometer.
Serve meatballs, with marinara sauce and additional grated cheese on top.
Leftover meatballs can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Shaped meatballs can be frozen for later. Arrange them slightly apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until solid. Transfer the meatballs to a freezer container or freezer bag, and freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before cooking.