This mixture forms the base for many of my Italian recipes (meatballs in sauce and fried, meatloaf, Grandma sauce (tomato sauce with meatballs and sausage, meat sauce, lasagna, stuffed peppers, cowboy stew, veggie burgers). These recipes came from my truly wonderful Italian Mother-in-Law Rose. She loved to share food and recipes so in her memory I pass them on to you. I will node the above linked recipes as I am able to get to them.
Please note, as a young cook I demanded to have measurements and would follow the dear lady around grabbing her "teacup of this" and "pinch of that" and measuring them. 20 years later, I find myself also ignoring measurements but I have gone back to my original notes from Rose to attempt to transmit these recipes to you. Feel free to modify the amounts knowing that this is normal.
Almost all these recipies are good if you like me are not really a vegetarian but just don't eat meat. I'll eat the other stuff and leave the meat portions for the rest of the family. I grant you the meat does enhance the flavor, I just can't stomach eating the actual stuff.
Rose's BASIC ITALIAN GROUND BEEF MIXTURE:
Mix all ingredients together with 2 hands, may be done a few hours ahead of rest of recipe and refrigerated.
My Italian mother-in-law taught me to make meatballs...from my old notes:
Meatballs Italian Rose’s recipe
Use for Grandama sauce and fried meatballs and after cooked in Grandma sauce may be used for lasagna or meat sauce.
Make one batch of Rose's BASIC ITALIAN GROUND BEEF MIXTURE including celery leaves.
Handle gently – don’t compact tightly.
Form into ovals about the size of a medium egg.
Can be made to this point and refrigerated for several hours or overnight if ground beef was very fresh to start and mixture has been kept cold.
For Grandma sauce meatballs should be fried just lightly enough in extra virgin olive oil to hold together. Cooking will be completed in the sauce.
For fried meatballs, fry until well done in extra virgin olive oil. Serve with catsup and fresh Italian bread.
A good thing to do is make the meatballs one night, fry some for dinner and reserve the rest for making sauce the next day.