Italian Essentials: Yummy Bacon Meatballs

Andy Anderson !


This is as close to a recipe my Aunt Josephine used to make. She called them polpette di pancetta in salsa, or Bacon meatballs in sauce. And, when dinner was served (we always did family style at Aunt Josephine’s home), I was always at the front of the line.

This recipe is no family secret, and I would suspect most Italian chefs have a version of this with their own “special” additions, safely tucked away.

So, you ready… Let’s get into the kitchen.


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10 Min
30 Min



  • 5 oz
    bacon, finely chopped, about 4 – 5 strips
  • 3/4 lb
    ground beef, lean
  • 3/4 lb
    ground veal or pork
  • 1/2 c
    breadcrumbs, unseasoned
  • 1/2 medium
    yellow onion, finely chopped, about 1/2 cup
  • 1/2 c
    parmesan reggiano, finely grated
  • 2 - 3 clove
    garlic, minced
  • 2 large
    eggs, whisked
  • 2 tsp
    fennel seeds, ground
  • 1 1/2 tsp
    salt, kosher variety, or to taste
  • 1 tsp
    dried parsley flakes
  • 1 tsp
    black pepper, freshly ground, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp
    paprika, smoked variety
  • 1/2 tsp
    dried oregano

How to Make Italian Essentials: Yummy Bacon Meatballs


  2. Raw bacon can be a chore to cut, and if you are thinking about using your food processor… Do not.

    You will wind up with a slimy mess.

    But here is a simple trick.

    Raw meat, including bacon, cuts easier when it is slightly frozen. Simply wrap the bacon in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. It will be easy to cut up.
  3. Traditionally, this recipe uses veal and beef; however, pork works just fine.
  4. Gather your ingredients (mise en place).
  5. Chop up the raw bacon into small bits.
  6. Add all of the ingredients into a big bowl and gently mix.
  7. Do not overmix. Mix just enough to combine the ingredients. Over mixing will make the meatballs tough.
  8. I grind my own meats; however, pre-ground works just fine.
  9. Form into golfball size meatballs. Do not pull out a ruler… just eyeball it.
  11. Plating Suggestions
  12. Cook them in a frying pan with a little oil.
  13. Serve over rice with some nice brown mushroom gravy.
  14. Drop them into a ovenproof pan of yummy homemade marinara, and let cook for about twenty minutes at a light simmer.
  15. Then cover with your favorite cheese and stick in a 400f (205c) oven until the cheese is bubbly and browning in spots. Serve with crusty bread.
  16. Or, make them a bit smaller, stick a toothpick in them and serve as an appetizer.
  17. I make these in batches of about 200 or so, then place them on parchment lined baking sheets, and freeze them. Once frozen, I vacuum seal in batches of 25.

    They will keep up to a year in the freezer. Enjoy.
  18. Keep the faith, and keep cooking.

Printable Recipe Card

About Italian Essentials: Yummy Bacon Meatballs

Course/Dish: Pork
Main Ingredient: Beef
Regional Style: Italian
Dietary Needs: Soy Free
Other Tag: Quick & Easy

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