Italian-American Meatballs with Fennel

 Great Comfort Food Recipes

Italian-American Meatballs with Fennel
Photo: ©Jonelle Weaver
12 meatballs


  • 1 tablespoon pure olive oil

  • 1/2 cup minced onion

  • 1/4 cup minced fennel

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic

  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, finely chopped

  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 1/2 pound ground beef

  • 1/2 pound ground pork

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

  • 2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • Vegetable oil, for sautéing


  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion, fennel and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the fennel seeds and crushed red pepper and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Scrape the vegetable-spice mixture into a medium bowl and let cool.

  2. Add the ground beef and pork to the bowl, along with the egg, parsley, bread crumbs and salt, and mix with your hands until thoroughly combined. Divide the mixture into 12 equal portions, roll into balls and set on a large plate.

  3. Heat 1/4 inch of vegetable oil in a large skillet. Add the meatballs and sauté over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Drain the meatballs on paper towels, then serve.

Serve With

Roasted red peppers and tomato sauce in a sandwich, or spaghetti and tomato sauce.

Suggested Pairing

The acidic flavors of tomatoes and the sweet flavor of fennel need a light lager.

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