We snagged the recipe for Carmine's hearty Italian meatballs

These meatballs use a blend of veal and beef, augmented with a hefty helping of grated cheese

By Ashlie D. Stevens

Food Editor

Published August 28, 2021 4:30PM (EDT)

Meatballs (Photo courtesy of Carmine's)
Meatballs (Photo courtesy of Carmine's)

Carmine's first opened its doors in August 1990 on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Artie Cutler, the restaurateur behind the venture, favored, as the New York Times put it, "hearty, easy-to-enjoy" dishes. 

"Carmine's served huge platters of spaghetti and meatballs, rivers of marinara sauce and mountains of garlic at a time when the trend in Italian restaurants was toward elevating the image of the cuisine with extra-virgin oils, aged vinegars and cheese made from buffalo milk," wrote Times reporter Eric Asimov. 

The restaurant focuses on family-style eating, including gigantic, flavorful meatballs which you can now recreate in the comfort of your own kitchen now that Carmine's has shared their weeknight-friendly recipe with Salon readers. 

A classic Italian dish, parents can never go wrong with pasta and meatballs. Using a blend of veal, beef, fresh garlic, breadcrumbs, basil, and parmesan or romano cheese, Carmine's meatballs are a winner. To mix it up, leftovers can easily be made into meatball heros.


Recipe: Spaghetti with Carmine's Meatballs
Serves 6 to 8 


  • 1 ½ cups bread crumbs
  • 2 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 1 ½ tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ pound ground veal
  • 1½ pounds fresh ground beef chuck
  • 1 ¼ cups grated Romano cheese
  • 10 cups Marinara Sauce
  • 2 pounds spaghetti, cooked al dente


1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.

2. In a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs, 1 cup of the chicken stock, the garlic, eggs, 3 tablespoons of the parsley, 2 tablespoons of the basil, the salt, and pepper. Add the veal, beef, and 1 cup of the grated cheese. Using your hands, mix well, but do not overwork the mixture. Refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the mixture to set up.

3. Lightly oil a high-sided sheet pan with olive oil. Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop out rounded balls of the meat mixture. Arrange them on the sheet pan, spacing the balls evenly apart, until you've used up the mixture; there should be about 12 balls.

4. Coat your hands with a little bit of olive oil and tightly pack each ball while rolling it round to maintain a uniform shape.

5. Pour the remaining 1 ½  cups of chicken stock into the sheet pan around the meatballs. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are browned and cooked through. Remove and let cool.

6. When you're ready to serve, combine the meatballs with the marinara sauce in a medium pot, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. While the meatballs simmer, cook the spaghetti.

7. Spread the pasta out on a serving platter and place half the meatballs along the center. Top with 3 cups of the sauce. Garnish with 2 tablespoons of the grated cheese, the remaining 1 tablespoon parsley, and 1 tablespoon of the basil, and serve.

8. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons cheese and 1 tablespoon basil to the remaining sauce and meatballs

9. Let any leftover meatballs and sauce cool and then refrigerate for meatball heroes the next day.


By Ashlie D. Stevens

Ashlie D. Stevens is Salon's food editor. She is also an award-winning radio producer, editor and features writer — with a special emphasis on food, culture and subculture. Her writing has appeared in and on The Atlantic, National Geographic’s “The Plate,” Eater, VICE, Slate, Salon, The Bitter Southerner and Chicago Magazine, while her audio work has appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered and Here & Now, as well as APM’s Marketplace. She is based in Chicago.

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