Giant Meatballs and Marinara

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 45 min
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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Extra-virgin olive oil, for the baking sheet

1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley 

3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled 

1 medium carrot, cut into chunks 

1 stalk celery, cut into chunks 

1 small onion, cut into chunks 

2 large eggs, beaten 

1/4 cup milk 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

1/2 cup fine dried breadcrumbs 

1/2 cup grated Parmesan 

1 pound ground beef 

1 pound ground pork 


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped 

4 cloves garlic, sliced 

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 

Two 28-ounce cans whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand 

Kosher salt 

1 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving 

1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chopped 


  1. For the meatballs: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment and brush with oil.
  2. Combine the parsley, garlic, carrot, celery and onions in a food processor and pulse to make an almost-smooth vegetable paste. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the eggs to the milk and whisk together, then add to the vegetables. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, beef and pork. Mix well with your hands. Form into 6 large meatballs and place, without touching, on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the meatballs are just cooked through, about 40 minutes.
  3. For the marinara: Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat, add the oil and onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic begins to sizzle but doesn't color, about 1 minute. Add the oregano, tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 cup water and smash the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened and flavorful, about 20 minutes. Toss with the meatballs, then top with Parmesan and basil to serve.