How to make mouth-watering meatballs from the mountains of Sardinia

Jennifer Avventura My Sardinian Life (3)Sardinia is a culinary delight and nothing would please me more than to cook like the grandmothers who have baked and cooked for generations. The times I go walkabout, and it’s generally in the winter, the wafts of delightful delicacies that breeze through the crisp Mediterranean air leaves my mouth-watering and my stomach wanting the recipe.

My Italian language skills are decent enough to ask the women in the shops “Come fa le polpette?” They are more than eager to share the recipe from their grandmother’s kitchen, and I’ve taken their advice into my home and made it my own.

I’ve experimented with my meatballs and have come up with three different methods of cooking: bake, fry or add raw to tomato sauce. I’ve slowly improved and continue to ask the women in town for their advice. It’s a warm fuzzy friendship.

If you’ve followed this blog long enough, you will know that I don’t measure the ingredients, I eye-ball everything, plus, the leftovers always taste better the next day.

How to make mouth-watering meatballs


  • 400 grams ground beef (this makes about 4 meals for 2 adults in my home)
  • bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • parsley
  • salt & pepper
  • The above ingredients are for your basic meatball, now let’s spice it up a bit.
  • finely chopped garlic, carrot, onion or zucchini
  • Adding too many ingredients takes away the intended flavour – keep it simple.

How to make meatballs in the oven:

  • Throw all ingredients together in a bowl and mix.
  • Use a tablespoon as measurement; ball together the beef mixture into the palm of your hand until round and slightly firm.
  • Roll meatball in bread crumbs and set in oven pan.
  • Set oven at 200.
  • Bake 25 minutes for medium size meatballs.
  • This is one of the healthiest options, I’ve made them in the oven several times and they were good, but dry.

How to fry meatballs:

  • Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.Jennifer Avventura My Sardinian Life
  • Use a tablespoon as measurement and ball mixture until round and slightly firm.
  • Roll meatball in bread crumbs and set aside.
  • Fill frying pan with desired oil and cook until golden brown; heat oil.
  • If you have tomato sauce you can add the meatballs now. Oh, and here, in the mountains of Sardinia we don’t pare meatballs with pasta, no, never, it’s not even talked about, trust me, I’ve tried.
  • Not so healthy this option but super delicious, as with all things fried.

How to make meatballs in tomato sauce:

  • Okay, we get the gist of making meatballs now, right?Jennifer Avventura My Sardinian Life (2)
  • Make your meatballs and add it your boiling tomato sauce.
  • Cook for 35-40 minutes, stir slowly on medium heat.
  • Want to know how to make tomato sauce like an Italian? That’s the link to my most popular post, be sure to read the comment section for more tips for a great tomato sauce.

I used to think it was gross to add raw meat to cooking tomato sauce, then one day a friend was over and we were chatting meatballs. He asked me how I made mine and I told him I fried them, then put them in tomato sauce. He looked at me quizzically and said “perche non metti direttamente nel sugo?” It was a good question and the following day I just did just that, and the meatballs turned out superb, I’ve made them like this ever since.

Happy Meatball making.

How do you make your meatballs? Share your recipe in the comment section below.

About Jennifer Avventura

Canadian Freelance writer living in Sardinia, Italy. A serial expat who has lived in Australia, England and Cayman Islands. She eats Nutella with a spoon and hides under the bed during lightning storms. When she's not out running 6k you will find her sitting at the computer - writing her novel and searching for worldwide waitress work.
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32 Responses to How to make mouth-watering meatballs from the mountains of Sardinia

  1. candres2012 says:

    You continue to amaze me, Jennifer

  2. Paul Corda says:

    As a boy in Sardinia, I loved meatballs, I even used to make the “merenda” (snack) with bread and meatballs….but as how to make them, well I had other things on my mind then cooking.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Anna says:

    The problem with being a blogger is becoming a blog reader. And the problem with being a blog reader is that it makes me want to go to foreign countries to visit with people I have never met in ‘real life’, just so that I can try all the amazingly delicious-looking local foods they post on their blogs 🙂

  4. If you want you can try out a thing: whenever you make them panfry them at high heat till barely brown on extrerior and then add them to the tomato sauce. The external crust gives a little kick mixing with the tomato sauce!

  5. chirose says:

    I am so going to try ALL these recipes.!!! They look divine.!!

  6. aj vosse says:

    I have a plan… thanks for the inspiration!! Like with your tomato sauce you’ve given me an idea… I’ll let you know how it turns out… 😉

  7. atzenicarlo says:

    They look very much the way I make them….must be because I am an expat from Sardinia,living in Belgium. Turri was my village, they have a great BB “Su Massaiu”

  8. These look amazing! Now, if only the shops were open on Sundays in Spain… 🙂

  9. Rosemarie Kleinberg says:

    Meatballs can be and are a family passion! My fathers were fantastic and he would fry them until a crusty brown and done inside, then before popping them all into his delicious sauce he would put several of them aside for all of us to have without the sauce! When we arrived home from church they were waiting for us! This was an every Sunday tradition when our whole family would come together for his homemade pasta! These look so good as well! Happy cooking!
    The Sard/American

  10. Mona E Light says:

    Sardinian food is lovely!.

  11. lizbert1 says:

    Mmmm, I know what I’m having for my dinner this evening! Mouthwatering post!! Liz

  12. Team Oyeniyi says:

    I’m really, really tempted to reblog that one!

  13. Team Oyeniyi says:

    Reblogged this on Love versus Goliath : A Partner Visa Journey and commented:
    This meatball recipe from Sardinia is just too good not to share! Visit Jen and ENJOY!

  14. Sami Veloso says:

    I came here from Team Oyeniyi a couple of days ago and already made them twice! Once with the home made tomato sauce which was a great hit with the family and another time in the oven. Ok but a bit dry as you said, the saucy ones are so much better!! Thanks

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