Ina Garten's 'Unusual' Tricks For More Flavorful And Juicy Meatballs

There's nothing quite like authentic spaghetti and meatballs, that is, unless the meatballs are dry and lack flavor. It could be surprising to know that Italy isn't the birthplace of the meatball, but rather, they've been a part of the culinary culture of a number of different countries for thousands of years, including Sweden, China, and Greece, according to Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. One thing that links the various versions is the supple, even texture and juiciness. But why do your meatballs sometimes dry out, and what can you do about it?

You can fix dry meatballs by adding sauce to them after they're cooked, but the better solution is to prepare them in a way that they don't dry out. Overcooking and overmixing can be problems in some situations. Other times, it could be the wrong mixture of meat. 

Ina Garten shares a few secrets to her recipe that help keep them perfectly moist every time.

Tips for flavorful, juicy meatballs

Garten offers two simple things you can do when making meatballs to help keep them properly juicy and full of flavor in her Real Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe. It calls for adding half a cup of grated parmesan cheese to her mixture. She says it's an unusual addition to a meatball recipe, but she does it because it adds lots of flavor. They are also flavored with nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

She then adds three-quarters of a cup of warm water, a trick she says she learned from the famed New York restaurant Rao's. Adding in the water helps to keep the meatballs super moist throughout the cooking process, so much so that Garten shares, "You won't believe it." Her meatball mixture, which includes a pound of ground beef, a half-pound of ground veal, and a half-pound of ground pork, is then formed lightly into meatball shapes without doing a lot of packing. 

Though they may not be classic Italian meatballs, they are soft and flavor-packed.