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Dec 8, 2004 03:59 PM


  • j

Have been having some trouble lately when cooking meatballs. They seem to fall apart while simmering in the red gravy for pasta. Mix the ground beef with egg and breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and fresh parsley. Any suggestions?

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  1. I cook my meatballs before adding to the gravy.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Alan408

      I brown them before adding to the sauce.

      1. re: RichK

        Yes, browning them is key. Try to brown them in the same pan that you add the sauce to; the fond (the brown bits that stick to the pan bottom) from browning them will add great depth of flavor to the sauce. Just don't burn the fond, though...

        1. re: Karl S.

          Yup, that's definitely the key, but you should also keep an eye on the amount of breadcrumbs you use. Don't go over 1 cup per pound of meat or they can become mushy and fall apart. 1/2 cup is the bare minimum that I would use if you like them firmer.

          My family also adds garlic.

          (now you got me craving some...)

    2. While I add bread crumbs to the meat mixture, I also like to roll the formed balls in a light coating of bread crumbs. I then pan fry them in a thin layer of oil until browned all over, set aside. Then make my sauce in same pan so that it benefits from the yummy drippings. If you don't want to fry, then have heard of people baking them in oven. Also, make sure that your sauce isn't bubbling too hard--should be on low simmer.

      1. they can also fall apart if you put more than 1 egg in per lb of meat.

        1. Arrange uncooked meatballs on a baking sheet and bake at 375o F for 10 minutes, turn them over and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes. Fat, if any, will drain off into the pan and the meatballs will brown slightly and become firm enough to hold up in a sauce. Also - make sure you're rolling them tightly enough. If you're being gentle with the ground meat mixture (like you should be when making burgers) you may find that the meatballs aren't compressed enough to stick together.