This slow cooker Italian meatballs recipe will have you eating like grandma

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I didn’t grow up with an Italian grandmother, but when I was in college, I dated a boy who had one. She was four feet something and barely spoke English, but wow, could that lady cook some amazing Italian food. When the family’s church put together a cookbook to raise funds, they asked Nana for some of her recipes, but they were nearly impossible to translate. “Itsa my hand,” she would say, shrugging, when asked how much flour or Parmesan cheese should be added to a dish. The recipe below is as close as I’ve been able to get to Nana’s special meatballs.
I don’t have Nana’s hands, skills, or anywhere near as much time as she had to cook, but these meatballs are delicious and always remind me of her. The great thing about them is that they cook in the slow cooker, so I can start them in the morning (or even the night before) and come home to a delicious meal at the end of the workday.
Cooktop Cove
Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs
20 minutes
8 hours
8 hours and 20 minutes
1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, finely diced
½ cup breadcrumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving
1 large egg
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 (32-ounce) marinara sauce
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil, for garnish
In a large mixing bowl, combine the beef, onion, breadcrumbs, cheese, egg, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper and mix well. Form the mixture into 1 ½-inch meatballs. Arrange the meatballs in the bottom of the slow cooker pot.
Pour the sauce over the meatballs, cover the pot, and cook for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high. Serve hot over cooked pasta with additional Parmesan cheese and minced fresh basil.
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