Grandma’s Meatballs | Wine Enthusiast
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Grandma’s Meatballs

Whether you grew up with an American grandma or Italian nonna, you’ll always remember her meatballs. Moist and savory comfort food. But an outdated reliance on Italian bread crumbs, high in sodium and flavored with dried herbs, deserves a modern upgrade. Try Japanese panko with fresh parsley and rosemary. Imported brand Sushi Chef or Trader Joe’s both make a great product.

Gourmet Upgrade: Japanese Panko and Fresh Herbs

Tip: Avoid overworking the meat. Mix until just combined to keep texture loose rather than dense.

Pairing: Try Noble Vines 181 Merlot. Supple tannins and generous cherry flavors layered with vanilla and oak, complement the richness of the meatballs.


1 large egg
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
8 sprigs flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
4 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
8 oz ground beef
8 oz ground pork
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
½ cup panko Japanese bread crumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, whisk egg, adding Parmesan, parsley, rosemary, salt, and black pepper to taste. With hands, gently mix meat thoroughly with egg. Add onions, garlic, panko and gently mix. Form into 1 1/2-inch wide balls. In a frying pan, warm olive oil over medium high. Add meatballs in batches, searing evenly on all sides. Transfer meatballs to a glass baking dish and bake 15-20 minutes until meatballs feel firm or register 165°F on an instant-read thermometer.