Roman-Style Meatballs with Gnocchi alla Romana

Roman-Style Meatballs with Gnocchi alla Romana is rated 4.9 out of 5 by 14.
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Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 75 minutes
Servings: 6 to 8

Made with ground beef, pork and bits of prosciutto, these hearty Roman meatballs are simmered in a tomato sauce and paired with gnocchi. To ensure tender meatballs, don’t overwork the ingredients; mix them gently until just combined. 


  • 1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs 
  • 1/2 cup milk 
  • 4 oz. finely chopped prosciutto 
  • 1 lb. ground beef 
  • 1 lb. ground pork 
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten 
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh oregano 
  • 6 Tbs. finely chopped fresh basil 
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more, to taste  
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste 
  • 5 Tbs. olive oil 
  • 1 yellow onion, diced 
  • 1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes with juices 
  • Gnocchi alla Romana for serving


In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs and milk and let stand for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the prosciutto, ground beef, pork, eggs, cheese, parsley, oregano, 3 Tbs. of the basil, 3 of the minced garlic cloves, the 1 tsp. salt and the 1/2 tsp. pepper. Add the soaked bread crumbs and mix gently until combined. Divide the meat mixture into 1/4-cup portions and roll into balls. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

In an 11-inch French skillet over medium-high heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Working in 2 batches, brown the meatballs on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate.

In the same pan over medium heat, warm the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the remaining 2 minced garlic cloves and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and their juices, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Stir in the remaining 3 Tbs. basil.

Add the meatballs to the pan and cook, turning occasionally and basting with the sauce, until cooked through, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a platter and serve immediately with the gnocchi alla Romana alongside. Serves 6 to 8.

Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great tasting! I really enjoyed this dish. I also made the related recipe, which came out great too. It's a bit time consuming in the prep work (i.e. making fresh breadcrumbs) so I used some fresh herbs, some dried. I also used a regular 10-inch frying pan instead of a French skillet. The recipe still came out tasting terrific!
Date published: 2015-08-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The other reviews are right - these are delicious! I made these meatballs for a friend's retirement party & they were a big hit! I made the recipe as written for the meatballs & sauce. This was a potluck for about 30 so I doubled the meatball recipe & quadrupled the sauce recipe based on other reviewer's suggestions to double the amount of sauce. These were good tips as it was the perfect amount for a large crowd. I cooked them in advance, refrigerated them separately & then heated them up together in my large slow cooker. They were delicious! The combination of beef, ground pork & prosciutto was rich & flavorful. I usually make turkey meatballs but these were on a different level! I'll make a single batch next time & serve for dinner with pasta. Can't wait!
Date published: 2015-07-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic! We made these as written, with the exception of adding a bit of rosemary that I had on hand, and they were perfection! The seasoning and salt are well balanced. The sauce is very tight and clings to the meatballs. It is not abundant. I loved it as written. If you are looking for a looser sauce that you can pour over the entire dish, you will have to double the sauce portion of the recipe. I highly recommend these as well as the Gnocchi alla Romana which is on the WS site, as well.
Date published: 2015-01-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding!!! My husband said this was one of the best things I've ever made! I followed the recipe almost exactly, however I used gluten free bread crumbs and it was still great. I took the advice from other reviews and doubled the sauce and I highly recommend it. My only con is that it was extremely labor intensive.
Date published: 2014-08-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Made this for New Year's Eve! Although this required a lot of time and effort, it was worth it!
Date published: 2013-04-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WONDERFUL recipe! I made this for the first time Saturday night and it was a huge hit! I took other reviewers advice and doubled the sauce. I will definitely do that again. I also cut back on the semolina flour in the gnocchi, using 1 3/4 c. The finished product was a great consistency. This is a definite do over!
Date published: 2012-12-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Delicious Dinner! The meatballs were awesome! I made a few changes to the recipe: I toasted some wholegrain bread and broke it apart with my hands to make the breadcrumbs, I used only lean pork and lean ground dark-meat chicken, and added garlic powder instead of minced garlic (I find that minced garlic can sometimes turn bitter if cooked for too long, garlic powder does the job better). I used my own canned marinara sauce. Delish!
Date published: 2012-07-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome Italian-style Meatballs As always, Williams-Sonoma recipes never let me down. I basically followed the recipe for the meatballs and sauce, opted not to make the gnocchi and used pasta instead. I made the following minor changes: I used regular bread crumbs and only used half of what was required. I also had difficullty finding grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and used regular grated Parmesan cheese instead. For personal reasons I also reduced the salt by half. Because I love sauce I automatically doubled the recipe and am thankful I did. With the amount of meatballs made and the fact that I was serving pasta, I was glad I made a double batch of sauce. Needless to say, my changes didn't effect the recipe one bit. In fact I received rave reviews and look forward to pleasing everyone's appetites again. The other plus is that I no longer have to search for the ultimate meatball recipe because this will be my "go to" recipe from now on.
Date published: 2012-07-08
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