Mario Batali’s Famous Meatballs Recipe

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Meatballs are universal. Every country in the world has them. After all, you don’t have to be a genius to ground some meat and roll it with your hands into bite-sized meaty goodies.

Having said that, some meatballs are just better than others, and Italians do theirs very well, especially in the US. And what better example than the meatballs straight from Chef Mario Batali’s playbook?

Here’s my take on the famous meatballs. And don’t worry, they’re pretty easy to make and enjoy. Eight ingredients are all you need to put together the classic Italian meal.

Mario Batali’s Meatballs Recipes 2

What goes into Mario Batali’s meatballs?

Chef and restaurateur Mario Batali uses stale bread cut into small pieces to hold the meatballs together; he dampens them and forms a paste. I, on the other hand, use regular breadcrumbs, but you do you.

You’ll also need ground beef. Again, choose what you’re most comfortable with. Just try not to get ground beef that’s too lean — you need some fat in there!

We’re also using eggs, garlic and lots of Pecorino cheese — that’s the secret ingredient right there. And talking about secret ingredients, Chef Batali adds roasted pine nuts to the mix. Yes, the stuff is expensive, but it adds a lovely nuttiness and a crunch to every bite, so add them if you can.

Finally, have in hand some tomato sauce. You can use your favorite. The meatballs are the stars of the show, after all. Any decent tomato sauce will work fine.

What to do with meatballs?

Serve the meatballs over pasta for the whole experience. You can also enjoy them on their own, perhaps with a side of white rice, that’s good, too. You have to add some kind of carbs, whether it’s pasta, rice or bread.

And here’s a secret. Make yourself a sandwich Subway-style with the meatballs for a satisfying lunch. Meatballs can do it all!

How to Make It

  • Prep Time15 min
  • Cook Time30 min
  • Total Time45 min
  • Serving Size4
  • Energy806 cal




In a mixing bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, ground beef, eggs, garlic, pecorino and pine nuts. Mix well.


Wet your hands and roll 12 bite-sized meatballs. Place them on a plate on the side.


Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and brown the meatballs on all sides (10 minutes).


Reduce the flame and pour in the tomato sauce. Simmer until just boiling and serve with artisan bread or over pasta.

  • Nutrition Facts

  • Serving Size4
  • Amount per serving
  • Calories806
  • % Daily Value*Standard DV
  • Total Fat39.1 g78 g50.13%
  • Saturated Fat10.7 g20 g53.5%
  • Cholesterol244 mg300 mg81.33%
  • Sodium1817 mg2300 mg79%
  • Total Carbohydrate56.7 g275 g20.62%
  • Dietary Fiber5.1 g28 g18.21%
  • Total Sugars9.8 g
  • Protein57.9 g50 g115.8%
  • Calcium323 mg1300 mg24.85%
  • Iron27 mg18 mg150%
  • Potassium1073 mg4700 mg22.83%

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