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Crispy Meatballs Marinara

Crispy Meatballs Marinara
Yield:   About 45-50 meatballs, depending on size.
Cook Time:   About 40 minutes
Tips:   If desired, Marinara Sauce may be blended to a smooth consistency using a blender or food processor. To make as an appetizer, form meatballs into 1 or 1 1/2-inch balls.
Suggestion:   Also delicious served as a main course with a salad or vegetable and a side of bread.
Crispy Meatballs Marinara is an Italian meatball recipe that features ground beef and bulk Italian
sausage, seasoned with all the right stuff, then coated with Panko bread crumbs and fried until golden and crispy. A very flavorful, quick and easy marinara sauce made with onions, sliced garlic and seasonings is then drizzled over the top, making this dish complete and packed with amazing flavor. (Note: If you prefer a smoother marinara sauce, simply blend to a smooth consistency using a blender or food processor.) These meatballs can be formed into 2-inch main course-size portions as shown in the photo above, or in smaller bite-size portions, which work perfectly for appetizers. Keep in mind that the larger meatballs will require slightly more cooking time than the bite-size meatballs. Serve Crispy Meatballs Marinara with a salad or vegetable and a side of bread, and you've got a complete and fabulous meal


  • Meatballs
  • 1 lb. ground beef (or veal)
  • 1/2 lb. ground pork or bulk Italian pork sausage (mild or spicy)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 3/4 cups Panko bread crumbs, divded
  • 1/2 cup granted Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons water

  • Marinara Sauce
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 12 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (depending on spice preference)
  • vegetable oil (for frying)
Meatballs - Step 1

In a large mixing bowl, combine the beef, pork, onion, 1/2 cup of the Panko bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, sage, salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper. Form the mixture into 1, 1 1/2 or 2-inch meatballs. Place formed meatballs on a baking sheet and refrigerate.

Marinara Sauce

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Stir in the onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until tender (about 5 minutes). Add the crushed tomatoes and chopped basil, then season with salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Meatballs - Step 2

Place remaining 1 1/4 cups Panko bread crumbs in a bowl near cooking area. In another bowl, beat together eggs and water and place next to Panko bread crumbs (bread crumbs should be placed closest to cooking area). Remove meatballs from refrigerator and place near cooking area next to egg mixture (farthest from the stove).

Heat 2 inches of vegetable oil in a saucepan until it registers to 350° F on a deep-fry thermometer. (Note: If you don't have a deep-fry thermometer, heat oil on high until a small pinch of meatball dropped into oil immediately bubbles.)

One at a time, coat meatballs with the egg and water mixture, then thoroughly coat with Panko bread crumbs. (Note: It is recommended you cook just one meatball first, then test doneness by slicing into it and checking doneness in center - this will give you a better idea as to how long you need to cook them.) Using a slotted spoon, carefully immerse coated meatballs into hot oil. Cook 3-4 meatballs at a time, depending on size of meatballs and size of saucepan. Turn as necessary while meatballs are cooking to make sure all surface areas are cooked. Fry until meatballs are golden to medium brown and crisp (about 5 minutes). Allow oil to heat back up in between each batch of meatballs you cook. Adjust heat as necessary to ensure meatballs reached desired doneness in about 5 minutes (reduce heat if cooking too fast, increase heat if taking too long to cook).

Serve Marinara Sauce drizzled over the top of each serving or on the side.

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