In this era of air fried everything, it is tempting to remake this recipe in an air fryer. Meatballs these few can fit into the air fryer basket without touching each other. And with the heat of the machine coming from the top, melting the cheese will take no time at all.
But I’ll cook an air fryer version another time. This is from 2013, three years after Philips came out with the first commercial air fryer and, back then, the appliance was too pricey for home kitchens. An oven was what I had and that was what I used.
The meatballs are a combination of ground pork and beef. Salt, pepper, garlic, onion, basil and parsley are added for flavor and aroma. And, to bind everything together, I chose bread crumbs, a tablespoon of milk and grated Parmesan. We’re partial to panko here at home but regular bread crumbs will work too.
Another way of making this dish is to use sausage meat. Get your favorite sausage, slit and discard the casings, then just form into balls. No need add seasoning because sausage meat is already well seasoned. Adding chopped herbs is optional. But what herbs to use depends on the flavor of the sausage meat.
Because frying requires the meatballs to be turned around in the hot oil, a process that puts them in danger of breaking and falling apart, I opted to bake the meatballs in the oven. That’s really the only reason why they were baked. It has nothing to do with any attempt at low-fat cooking.
When the meatballs were done, they were transferred to an ovenproof plate, topped with chunky tomato sauce and cheese slices. The plate went into the oven just long enough to melt the cheese and heat the tomato sauce through.
Full recipe below
Baked meatballs Parmesan
- 150 grams ground pork
- 150 grams ground beef
- 4 tablespoons finely chopped onion
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped basil
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 4 tablespoons panko - or regular bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 6 tablespoons grated Parmesan
- 8 to 10 tablespoons tomato sauce
- 8 slices cheese - I used mild cheddar
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Line a baking tray with non-stick paper.
- In a bowl, mix together the ground pork and beef, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, basil, parsley, panko, milk and grated Parmesan.
- Shape into 8 to 10 balls about two inches in diameter.
- Arrange on the prepared baking tray and cook in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Take the meatballs out of the oven and arrange on a heatproof plate that you will serve them in.
- Spoon a heaping tablespoonful of tomato sauce over each meatball. Top with a slice of cheese.
- Put back in the oven and cook for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly.
- Sprinkle your meatballs with more chopped parsley or basil, or both, before serving.