This post originally appeared on my blog, Red Wine and Lipstick

Sometimes, I get into Italian Momma-mode and want to make the biggest, carb-iest, most comforting dish! It’s usually meatballs, which is perfectly fine because meatballs rock and you can never have too many. My mom is Italian and Mexican, and we grew up with a lot of recipes passed down from the Mexican side, and very few from the Italian side so I’ve begun to create my own dishes.


These, I call my “Better Than Your Nonna’s Meatballs”. (And don’t worry, you don’t have to tell Nonna that mine are better. It’ll be our little secret). They’re your traditional meatball recipe crafted to foodie and Dre-Dre perfection! I think you’ll love them.

When creating a recipe on my own, I usually take a base recipe (one from my favorite cookbook, Pinterest or a family recipe) and then completely deconstruct it and flourish it until it’s my own. For this recipe, I used The Barefoot Contessa’s meatball recipe from her book, “How Easy Is That?”. My recipe is entirely different than hers (mostly just used for measurements) but I think it’s fair to give her credit.

My version is: gluten free, dairy free, and paleo-ish (they have bread crumbs).

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To put Nonna to shame you’ll need:

1/2 lb italian sausage

1/2 lb 80% ground beef

1 shallot sauteed in butter

chopped parsley (about 1/4th cup)

handful chopped basil 

one egg

3/4 cup of wine red wine

1 pinch celery salt

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp red chili flakes

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/4 c gluten free italian bread crumbs (you can use regular though)

1 pinch of rosemary

1 (BIG) pinch of salt and pepper

3 tbsp grassfed butter

1 zucchini *(if making zoodles or regular pasta/spaghetti if you want that)



Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Off camera, I chopped my shallot and sauteed it in some (1 tbsp) butter in a skillet. Next, I placed all my ingredients in a bowl plus a nice splash of my vino (wine) and mixed them all up. You’ll probably need to get a little dirty in order to mix everything up, so don’t be afraid to use your (clean!) hands.


Once everything is mixed, start forming your mixture into 1 1/2″ balls and set them aside.


Heat your cast iron skillet on medium with the rest of your butter. Once the pan is hot, place your balls into the skillet. Brown each side for about 4 minutes on each side until lightly brown all around.


Add the rest of your wine (1/4 cup) to your skillet and place the whole thing in the oven. Cook them for about 15-20 minutes. When they’re done, pop ‘em out and put them back on the stove.

Now, for this part I kind of cheated: I used jarred pasta sauce (“If you can’t make your own homemade sauce, store bought is fine!”lol, points if you get my reference)… but don’t worry Barefoot Contessa! I used GOOD pasta sauce. I put the pan on very low heat and poured my sauce over the meatballs to heat it up.


This night, I decided to be low-carb/GF so I used a peeler to make shred my zucchini into zoodles. I heated them up in a shallow pan with a tablespoon of water and a pinch of salt. Tyty made regular spaghetti which is good too.



Top your pasta with the meatballs and sauce and enjoy!

Buon Appetito!