Craft Meatballs: 3 Recipes to Step Up Your Italian Food Cooking

Food The List
By: Meredith Witthar | Segun Oduolowu Posted: 5:45 PM, Jun 14, 2018 Updated: 8:46 AM, Jan 17, 2019

Craft meatballs — they’re way more than just a blob of ground beef in red sauce. The List reached out to Chef Joey Maggiore who’s giving us three craft meatball recipes you’ll want to make over and over again.

1. Crab and Shrimp Meatballs

The first craft meatballs recipe on our list is crab and shrimp meatballs over creamy polenta. Scoop the shrimp and crab into a bowl. Add a handful of provolone cheese, caramelized onions and a big pinch of lemon zest. Add garlic, an egg and mascarpone cheese and cook in an oven at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Voila! Place the meatballs on top of creamy polenta. The final touch? Crack an egg on top and mix into the polenta.


  • 2 lb shrimp, deveined and shell off. Put through food processor.
  • Shrimp deveined shell off, 2 lbs. put through food processor
  • Lump crab, 2 lbs.; break meat by hand
  • Onions, diced and carnalized, 1 cup
  • Garlic, 8 cloves diced and caramelized
  • Shaved lemon skin, ½ cup
  • Milk, 2 cups
  • Auricchio provolone, small cubes, 1 cup
  • Ciabatta or other Italian bread, cubed and soaked
  • Boursin cheese, 1/2 cup
  • Parsley, chopped, ½ cup
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste


Make 4-ounce meatballs. Cook on nonstick sheet pan lined with sprayed parchment paper for 15 minutes, or until done in center.


2. Lamb Meatballs Over Spinach & Ricotta Gnocchi

Next on our list is a recipe for lamb meatballs over spinach and ricotta gnocchi. Mix in some caramelized onions, provolone, aged parmesan and feta cheese. Then, sprinkle a handful of fresh mint and some garlic. To keep it light and fluffy, add the milk-soaked bread crumbs and an egg. Bake the lamb at 375F for about 20 minutes. Serve with a Bolognese sauce on a bed of spinach and ricotta gnocchi.

Meatball Ingredients:

  • 4lbs ground lamb
  • 2 cups crumbled feta
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 cup chopped mint
  • 1 cup of diced white onion
  • 1 shallot chopped fine
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
  • 2 cups of cubed ciabatta bread
  • 4 cups of milk

Meatball Directions:

Soak ciabatta bread in milk until spongy. Caramelize onion, garlic and shallots in olive oil on medium heat until tender. Combine lamb, feta, parmesan cheese, mint, bread and caramelized mixture together. Mix lightly with fingers to keep meat tender. Season with salt and pepper. Roll into three-ounce balls or any other desired size.

Bake in a 375F oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Spinach & Ricotta Gnocchi Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 starchy potatoes
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tub of super fine ricotta
  • 1 pound of spinach, wilted
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Spinach & Ricotta Gnocchi Directions:

Bake potatoes in a 400F oven until tender, about an hour. Once potatoes have cooled, send through a ricer or food mill. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Knead potato mixture with flour until a dough comes together. Add more flour if needed. Combine ricotta, witted spinach, salt and pepper together and place in a piping bag. Roll out gnocchi dough into a long rope, creating a well in the rope with your thumb.

Fill well with a light filling of the ricotta mixture, roll rope to seal. Cut rope into half-inch pieces, scoring each piece with a fork. Cook in a large boiling pot of salted water. Gnocchi will float when cooked.


3. Classic Spaghetti & Meatballs

Our final craft meatball recipe is for classic tomatoes meatballs and spaghetti. Like the other meatballs, you’ll use provolone, parmesan, caramelized onions, garlic and parsley. But the secret is to add raisins and pine nuts. Bake at 375F for 15 minutes and serve with spaghetti marinara.


  • Pork, 2 lbs.
  • Beef, 2 lbs.
  • Veal, 2 lbs.
  • Onions diced carnalized, 1 cup
  • Garlic 8 cloves diced carnalized
  • Milk, two cups
  • Auricchio provolone small cubes, 1 cup
  • Ciabatta or other Italian bread cubed, soaked
  • Parmigiano cheese shaved,1/2 cup
  • Parsley chopped, ½ cup
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Spaghetti thick 2 lbs.


Make four-ounce meatballs. Fry in pan until golden, then finish cooking in the simmered sauce.

Are you salivating yet? Now you’ve got three ways to get crafty with your meatballs.



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