Rao's Meatballs

Pellegrino Family

Rao's NYC

Dying for an authentic taste of Rao’s, but can’t get a reservation? Get a sneak peak of the legendary—and notoriously impossible to get into—restaurant with this recipe for Rao’s famous meatballs, which are delicious over pasta or on their own.


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/2 small garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • Kosher or sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 cup good quality olive oil for cooking
  • Your favorite marinara sauce


Combine beef, veal, and pork in a large bowl. Add the eggs, cheese, parsley, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Using your hands, blend ingredients together. Blend bread crumbs into meat mixture. Slowly add water, 1 cup at a time, until the mixture is quite moist. Shape into 2 1/2 to 3-inch balls.

Heat oil in a large sauté pan. When oil is very hot but not smoking, fry meatballs in batches. When the bottom half of the meatball is very brown and slightly crisp, turn and cook top half. Remove from heat and drain on paper towels.

Lower cooked meatballs into simmering marinara sauce and cook for 15 minutes. Serve alone or with pasta.


28 meatballs