Chop the onion into a small dice and slice the parsley finely (chiffonade).
Cut the bacon into small pieces with your knife (if you're grinding your own meat, grind the bacon together).
Measure out the rest of your ingredients (measure everything in one bowl to save dirty dishes).
With clean hands or using latex gloves, mix thoroughly until combined. The more you work the meat, the more it will stick together. It's also important to keep the meat as cold as possible and finish this step quickly as possible.
Test a small piece of the mixture by zapping it on a plate in the microwave for about 1 minute or until it's fully cooked. Alternatively, you could also cook a small piece in a little oil in your cast iron pan.Check for the spiciness and saltiness. Does it need more? Now is the time to adjust the seasoning before you roll them all.
Roll into balls using your hands. I weighed mine to 45g balls which were a little bigger than ping pong balls. You can make the size larger or smaller depending on your preference.
Sear the meatballs in a hot cast iron pan with the oil. They'll burn pretty quickly, so start with a high heat then reduce to a medium heat and watch them carefully.
Once the meatballs are golden all around, add the tomato passata and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper until it tastes good.
Choose your own adventure: For soft and tender meatballs: Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and braise in the oven for 45-minutes to 1 hour (larger balls take longer).If you're in an I-NEED-DINNER-RIGHT-NOW moment: Simmer on the stove for 5-10 minutes uncovered or until meat is fully cooked on the inside (160°F/71°C on a digital thermometer or cut into one and make sure it's not pink).
Once the meatballs are finished, skim off any fat from the top with a spoon. Stack them high on a plate, and spoon lots of sauce over top. Garnish with lots of cheese, black pepper and fresh parsley.Enjoy!
To make this recipe keto: leave out the onions and tomato paste and double the cheese. Note that adding more cheese will make the meatballs more salty so you may want to reduce the salt also.Soy sauce may contain a very small amount of gluten which may not be suitable for celiacs. Always wash your hands with hot soapy water before and after handling raw meat. Clean down your cutting board, work surface and tools after making the meatball mix to prevent cross-contamination. If the sauce is too thin after cooking, transfer the meatballs to another plate and cook the sauce over the stove over a low heat until thickened. Use a spoon to prevent the bottom from sticking.