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Meatball question

I'm planning a birthday party. Serving spaghetti and meat balls. I'm doing the 'Goodfellas' version. Raw meatballs into the sauce. Anyway. I need to know whether egg whites or egg yolks or whole eggs work best when making the meatballs. Any advice/experience is greatly appreciated.
I've got the other ingredients down.

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  1. Puffin3, my aunts and I were divided on raw vs. cooked, and on whole eggs vs. just yolks, but *never* used just whites. To us, it makes texture undesirable.

    1. I use whole egg. If either, or I would go with yolk since it seems to have more binding properties.

      1. I've used the method you speak of but didn't care for the finished texture, or color. I now brown them on a sheetpan in the oven @ 400 for approx. 10 minutes prior to adding to sauce. The browning adds a caramelized savoriness to the finished dish IMO.

        5 Replies
        1. re: letsindulge

          +1 on the oven method. Whole eggs is my way of making them.

          1. re: grampart

            Yes, we're an oven (or even fry) family, never raw, too, but since the OP is set on "Goodfellas style", figured I'd just comment on the egg thing.

            Just spoiled my plan. :-)

          2. re: letsindulge

            I'm a whole egg - brown (but not cooked all the way) - then into the sauce for a few hours person too.

            sometimes I brown in a fry pan, sometimes in the oven - depends how many I'm making really.

            1. re: letsindulge

              +4 - Fully agree. We much prefer the texture of a fried &/or baked meatball. After cooked we plop them in the sauce and simmer. These days we only do the oven method and never fry them anymore. Same texture, less fat.

              My family and my husband's family is Sicilian and I found a Sicilian meatball recipe a long while back that I use almost exclusively. They are made w/ ground beef and Italian sausage (casings removed) and the usual other ingredients but they also have dried currants and pine nuts. They are delicious and now I am ridiculously hungry for them. Here's a link for anyone who is interested:

              http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... (p.s. I don't make the sauce in the recipe)

              1. re: letsindulge

                Yes to browning for flavor and texture.

                Whole egg

              2. the only way I make meatballs is this way. i use whole eggs.

                1 Reply
                1. What I do is take sweet Italian sausage meat and roll them up with grated Parmesan cheese. I then brown them in a skillet pan and drop them into the sauce. It adds a cheesy, caramelized and crunchy texture to the sauce to balance out the tenderness of the noodles. I never use egg. If there's not enough Parmesan, there's always Italian seasoning flavored breadcrumbs.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: aslovesfood

                    egg, breadcrumb, cheese, garlic, and sometimes parsley. i don't soak bread in milk, either. i used to brown/bake/fry, but i can't be bothered. and it makes the sauce so yummy.

                  2. I have always used whole eggs and my meatballs rock! While I have occasionally thrown the raw ones in the sauce to cook away I much prefer to brown them in the oven first. I think it adds flavor and texture

                    1. another vote for whole eggs (which is the question you asked). Personally I liked meatballs cooked all ways - browned in a fry pan, baked in the oven, or straight into the sauce raw. I will say if you're going to do option 3, some fat-skimming off the sauce will be desirable since you don't get the opportunity to drain the cooked meat like you do in 1 and 2.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: cookie monster

                        Thanks for all the advice. I'm going the 'brown in oven' Italian sauces added route instead. Sounds delicious!

                      2. I use whole egg. Then I roll them in flour and cook in skillet til browned, then into the sauce. I have no idea where the flour idea came from, but have been doing it for over 30 years. And yes, it is a pain to do, but we all like them so much better that way.

                        And I make mine with 1/3 sausage.

                        1. My wife uses the whole egg when making meatloaf. Meatballs are just small meat loaves. My wife always browns the meatballs in the oven before putting them in the 'gravy' to reduce the amount of fat that oozes out so that the 'gravy' isn't greasy.

                          BTW, I've married to my wife, who is of Italian heritage, for 53 years, but I refuse to call that red stuff 'gravy.' It's sauce to me. If we are in the company of other people of her heritage, and one calls it sauce, she gets a certain express on her face. The expression is like "Don't you know it's GRAVY?" But my wife does not make an issue about it except if I purposely call it sauce.

                          I often tease the people of Italian heritage who make 750 of the tiny meatballs for Italian wedding soup by telling them I make square meatballs. Of course, they are skeptical and ask how that is done. I tell them that I make a big meatloaf and then slice it in cubes. Boy, does that get me dirty looks. Of course it is a lie, but it would be easier than rolling 750 tiny meatballs.