Tuck flavorful, tender Italian meatballs into the silkiest, creamy Alfredo sauce and I promise, the whole family will make it home on time for dinner. Ladle over a hot pasta that really holds the sauce, like fettuccine or cavatappi for the best weeknight comfort food recipe. Meatballs Alfredo…mouthwateringly amazing!
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about, perfecting and making the best Italian meatballs and have assembled quite a collection of reader favorite meatball recipes. Who doesn’t love a meatball, right?
The only thing that might be better than meatballs with red sauce is meatballs with Alfredo sauce. It’s an Italian version of Swedish meatballs with the garlic and nutmeg meatballs adding a savoriness to a rich butter and cream sauce.
Plus, it’s so darn easy to make ahead of time. Talk about an easy family dinner!
Is Alfredo sauce the same as white sauce or bechamel?
So…a white sauce, made with butter, flour and milk, is the same as a bechamel sauce (the French’s name for white sauce).
But a butter and cream sauce (referred to as Alfredo at most restaurants and in this post to make things easier) is different because it uses cream instead of milk.
To confuse things even more, a really traditional Alfredo sauce is made without cream using only butter, cheese and pasta water.
What makes tender meatballs?
The right combo of meat. Here, I use a combination of 80% ground beef and ground pork. The fat in each helps with the tenderness and also adds flavor.
The other key ingredient in my meatball recipe is…drumroll, please….
Adding water to the meatball mix helps create a really moist meatball.
I’m sure there’s a science behind it (maybe the water resisting the fat?) but I’m not a scientist. I have just made hundreds of pounds of meatballs over my 35 years of cooking.
And my meatball recipe makes tender moist meatballs.
How to make meatballs in Alfredo
As you’ve probably figured out, there are two components to this Alfredo meatballs recipe:
- Alfredo sauce.
Here’s what you’ll do:
1. Make the meatballs
2. Make the Alfredo sauce
Meatballs Alfredo Pro Tip
Cook the pasta first and reserve some of the pasta water to create a velvety Alfredo sauce.-Josie + Nina
More tips for success
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Tender Italian Meatballs in Alfredo Sauce
For the meatballs
- 1 lbs. ground chuck 80% but no more than 85%
- 1 lbs. ground pork
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup panko
- 3 slices fresh bread , white, country or sourdough. crusts removed, made into crumbs in food processor or blender
- ½ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese , no green can please😊
- 2 T chopped fresh parsley, plus another 2 T for garnish
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or 2 teaspoon from a bottle
- ¾ cup warm tap water
For the Alfredo sauce
- ½ lb cooked fettuccine pasta, see note; or your favorite pasta
- 1 cup light cream , sometimes labeled 18% cream
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, a couple of shakes or 1-2 swipes of the grater, if using fresh.
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese , plus another ½ cup for serving.
- salt and pepper to taste
For the meatballs
- Preheat oven to 425˚.
- In a large bowl and using your hands, blend the meats together until mixed well. You don’t want to see big clumps of either meat but a nice uniform mixture.
- One at a time, crack the eggs into the side of the bowl and beat them lightly with a fork. Of course, you can beat them in a separate small bowl and then add them but I’m all about saving some dishes. 😀
- Add the salt, pepper, oregano, both breadcrumbs, Parmesan, parsley and spices. Mix well into the meat along with the eggs.
- Add the warm water and mix gently with both hands making sure to incorporate all the water. It will feel like it won’t mix together but it will eventually!
- Shape into 2” balls using either your hands or a medium-sized scoop. The mix will be very wet. As you go along and your hands start to get a little sticky, rinse your hands with warm water but don’t dry them and go back to making your meatballs.
- One at a time, line up meatballs on your baking sheet being careful not to overcrowd. Depending on the size of your sheet, you’ll likely get anywhere from 5-7 meatballs across and about 6-8 rows down.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned.
For the Alfredo sauce
- Heat a large skillet over low heat and add cream and butter. Bring to a low simmer until it thickens about 3-4 minutes. It should coat the back of a spoon. Turn off the heat.
- Add the cheese and nutmeg along with the salt and pepper. Stir to incorporate.
- Taste for seasoning.
- Nestle the cooked meatballs in the alfredo sauce and simmer for about 10 more minutes. Add reserved pasta water as needed. Sprinkle with fresh grated parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley, if desired.Serve with fresh garlic bread or pasta if using.
About Lori Murphy
Lori has over 30 years in the food industry as a marketing strategist, culinary instructor and chef for three kids with discerning palates. As the chief content creator at Josie + Nina, Lori is dedicated to helping home cooks create food memories through fresh ingredients and Italian flavors.