1. Bread is hands down the best way to make soft meatballs. It's particular important for baked meatballs which are firmer than pan fried meatballs. So I really encourage you to use bread instead of breadcrumbs! But if you prefer, you can substitute with ½ cup breadcrumbs - preferably panko breadcrumbs.
Plain white sandwich bread is best for this, but you can substitute with other breads. Chop or tear them into small pieces with your hands, and do not include the crust. You can use slightly stale bread, but fresh disintegrates better.
Some recipes use milk to soften the bread. Milk doesn't add any flavour to the recipe, so I opt to use the onion juices instead i.e. the juices from the grated onion. It adds fabulous extra flavour, and by grating the onion instead of chopped them, you don't need to saute the onion before mixing in with the meat.
2. Pork is slightly fattier than beef so it helps make these extra juicy. I only use 3½ oz / 100g because pork has less flavour than beef and I don't want to dilute the flavour. This isn't hugely critical though and you should feel free to just use 1 lb / 500 g beef mince which is what I do on ordinary nights. ?
3. You can substitute with 1 tbsp dried parsley, or a mix of equal amounts of dried oregano, thyme, basil and parsley. I use a store bought Italian herb mix.
4. The pan size doesn't need to be an exact science, just has to be big enough so the meatballs fit on the rack above without being squished together. Just make sure a rack sits on top of it!
5. SAUCE: With the classic way of making sauce for meatballs, it is made in the skillet after pan frying the meatballs so you don't waste the flavour left in the skillet. And it starts with sautéing onion and garlic. I use my "oven sautéed onions" method for this meatballs sauce, which creates a great flavour base for the sauce without having to start it off on the stove. This is the same technique used in this popular Oven Baked Chicken and Rice
6. This is the baked version of my Classic Italian Meatballs
which are a massive reader favourite!
7. Nutrition is per serving, assuming 4 (generous) servings, excluding pasta.
8. SCALER (hover over servings): This recipe can be scaled up and down, just use a smaller/larger pan. When scaling up, make sure the meatballs are not squeezed in too snugly on the rack otherwise they won't brown, and ensure that they are set over the pan so the juices will drip into the Sauce.