Growing up my dad had two specialties:  spaghetti and omelets.  His spaghetti was canned tomato sauce and pasta from a box, but he was the one that would "make" it.  It was his thing.  Every once in a (rare and long) while, there were those very, very special occasions, he would make meatballs.  Meatballs which he would use ground beef that he rolled into a ball and cooked with a heavy dose of olive oil.  It was special when he made meatballs.

Now, all these years later, I still think of him every time I "make" spaghetti, most especially if there are meatballs involved.  (Note:  I never make my own pasta.  I have a couple of times over the years, but that is one of those things I just always buy from the store.  Especially stores like Salumeria.)  So, my go to meatballs, just as easy as dad's, but with a few additional ingredients.

Quinoa Meatballs:

Serves 4


  • 1/2lb ground beef
  • 1/2lb ground pork
  • 2Tbs cooked quinoa
  • 2Tbs shredded parmesan
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1Tbs fennel seed
  • 1tsp salt

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until just combined.  Don't overwork the meat.  I used a cast iron skillet, but any pan will do.  Place the pan or skillet on the burner at med/high heat to warm, adding olive oil if not using a cast iron skillet.  Add the meatballs in batches, not to crowd the pan, and cook, turning every 2 minutes or so to gently sear all the sides roughly 8-10 minutes.  Remove to baking sheet and finish cooking the remainder of the meatballs.  Now, here is your choice, you can either finish them off in the oven on a baking sheet at 300 for 5 minutes or just make sure they are cooked through to your liking.  

Enjoy over pasta (or quinoa or zucchini...) with sauce of choice and fresh parma!