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Step-by-Step Recipe: Dom Deluise's Mom's Meatballs with Spaghetti

Image Credit: Abbondanza! Magazine

Although we’ve acquired permission for reprinting this recipe (Simon & Schuster), we have modified it to make the meatballs smaller (a little more true to the size of polpette or polpettine in Italy), slightly modified the ingredients and finally we illustrated our recipe with a few photos.

When we first decided to create this posting, we agreed on using Dom DeLuise’s mom’s recipe from his book EAT THIS, It’ll Make You Feel Better.  Dom’s mom made the meatballs Italian-American style, although very tasty, they are a little more dense than we’d prefer, and they are definitely much to large for our liking. We’ve considered it, and we’re quite certain both Dom and his mom would approve of our tweaks.

So the following is our slightly modified recipe. As always, we recommend that you read the recipe completely before you dive in and begin cooking.

Servings: 10-12 Servings           Yield: About 40 meatballs


2 pounds ground chuck
1/2 pound pork sausage links (de-cased and crumbled)
1 1/2 cups flavored Italian Bread Crumbs
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup grated cheese (parmesan)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (for frying)
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 medium onion, minced

Kosher Salt
1 lb. Spaghetti (or Penne if preferred)


Get your workspace ready and gather all of your ingredients. Begin boiling your pasta water now.

In a large bowl, lightly whisk your eggs and add your milk. Add the remaining ingredients into the bowl and instead of mixing with your hands, use two butter knives to thoroughly cut all of the ingredients into each other. (This is a bit more tedious than just using your hands, but the resulting meatballs are lighter.)

Using a small ice cream scoop, form your meatballs. Preheat your 12-14” frying pan and when ready, add two tablespoons of olive oil and gently heat.

Once the pan is properly heated, begin adding your meatballs without overcrowding the pan. (You’ll need some space to turn them over gently.)

Fry gently in olive oil and rotate often to thoroughly cook.

Note 1: You don’t have to finish frying the meatballs in the olive oil. You can partially cook them, and then transfer them into a pot with your favorite pasta sauce for about a half-hour to finish them off. This results in a soft and light meatball)

Note 2: If you prefer a meatball with a light crust on the outside, you can finish them on the pan in about six minutes time if you rotate them frequently and maintain a consistent medium flame. Remove them from the pan when done (actually, we like to remove a single one from the pan to test for doneness). Drain them on a napkin and lighlty sprinkle with a kosher or sea salt.

Note 3: Meatballs can be made ahead of time and either stored in sauce or frozen to be used at a later time. Thawing is best either in sauce or in the fridge overnight.

Serving Suggestions

We would serve this with some garlic bread and a light salad of arugula and fresh tomatoes; or maybe just with some bruschetta. As for a beverage, obviously your favorite rosso or chianti would work well, but don’t underestimate the refreshing power of Peroni or a glass of sparkling water.

Note 4: Leftovers can be had in a sandwich, with melted provolone or mozzarella and a touch of pasta sauce. Alternatively, polpette can also be used in a soup. Just please don’t have them on pizza!

Note 5: If the meatballs were not finished or stored sauce, they should be allowed to rest on a clean counter for about ten minutes and you can heat them up in the microwave for 30 secs, or even saute them in olive oil again for about a minute.