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Mini Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

12 Servings

Cook Time
1 hr

The swim team is coming for dinner! The day before, have your child invite a team friend over to make this easy, tasty, kid-tested recipe, adapted from one in New Favorites for New Cooks by Carolyn Federman (Ten Speed Press, $20). When the crowd comes, set out the meatballs and sauce self-serve style, with sandwich rolls or pasta.

*Try with this Quick and Easy Tomato Sauce

 6 sprigs fresh marjoram or oregano, leaves removed
 4 thick slices rustic-style bread
 ½ cup whole milk
 2 eggs
 2 lbs ground beef
 1 tsp coarse salt
 Freshly ground pepper
 2 garlic cloves, peeled
 1 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving
 2 tsp Dijon mustard
 Quick and Easy Tomato Sauce* recipe, warmed; or 7 cups store-bought marinara
 10 lightly toasted and partly split hoagie or sub

Preheat oven to 425°. Roughly chop marjoram leaves (if larger than a ladybug) and reserve a heaping tablespoon.


Remove crusts from bread, then break bread into bite- size pieces. Measure 3 cups (loosely packed) and put into a bowl. Pour milk over bread and stir so all of it gets soaked. Crack eggs into a second bowl and remove any shell with a small spoon.


In a large bowl, combine beef, 1/2 tsp. salt, and about 1/4 tsp. pepper. Grate garlic into meat, using smallest holes of a box grater. Mix in egg, cheese, mustard, and marjoram with your just-washed hands.


When bread is soft, break it up by hand into very small (roly-poly–size) shreds. Mix soaked bread into meat.


Form mini meatballs by rolling about 2 tsp. meat between the palms of your hands. Arrange on 2 baking sheets in one uncrowded layer


Bake until well browned and cooked through, 15 to 18 minutes (cut one open to check). Scoop into a serving bowl and turn off the oven.


To make sandwiches, spoon some tomato sauce onto a roll and top with 5 or 6 meatballs. Add a little more sauce and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

MAKE AHEAD Cooked, cooled meatballs, up to 1 day, chilled, and up to 3 months, frozen. Thaw and reheat, uncovered, at 350° for 15 minutes.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 0

Amount Per Serving
Calories 481Calories from Fat 247
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 27g42%

Saturated Fat 10g50%
Cholesterol 126mg42%
Sodium 1408mg59%
Total Carbohydrate 30g10%

Dietary Fiber 4g16%
Protein 26g52%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.