I like to think I am a fairly adventurous eater.  I’ve had frog legs and snails and many, many types of raw seafood.  In fact, one of my earliest memories is happily nomming on tuna maki at age 3.

However, I regarded ground beef in deep, deep suspicion.  Not because I feared mad-cow disease or prions or food-poisioning, because hello, I was six.  I just found it completely disgusting (well, I liked hamburgers, if they came from Burger King.) I insisted on meat-free sauce on pasta nights, and found meatloaf to be completely unnatural — meat should not be in loaf-form! Since  my parents had a two-bites rule, I once sat at the dinner table for two hours after everyone else left, because I refused to touch that loathesome thing.

Anyway, as a grownup, I’ve been slowly conquering my fear of ground meat products.  I eat meaty burgers with gusto and like a good bowl of chili.  But I had yet to brave the mighty meatball.  But yesterday was a cold, wet, nasty day, calling for a big bowl of pasta and a bottle of wine, and for some reason, a plate of spaghetti and meatballs seemed really appealing.  I threw this together based on a couple recipes I found on the internet, and it is surprisingly meatbally delicious.

Not-Scary Meatballs

  • 1 lb ground beef and 1lb ground pork (making these meatballs verboten to observant Jews, Muslims and Hindus alike)
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • a couple big dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs.  (I used equal parts Panko and Italian breadcrumbs, because why not?)
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • about 5 minced garlic cloves. (I add extra garlic to everything, just in case I’m ever attacked by vampires.)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Mash everything up in a big bowl.  If you have a food mixer type thing, you can also probably use that.  Scoop into balls about an inch and a half in diameter, then bake at 400F for about 30 minutes or so.  Serve over pasta and marinara, and pop open a bottle of wine.

Freeze the leftovers for the next rainy cold day, or the next time you feel like facing your fears.