Monday, December 1, 2008

Meatballs and sauce...You ask and I deliver!!!

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When I asked some of my friends what they would like to see on my blog I was told Meatballs. I've posted sweet and sour meatballs but not the regular meatball recipe I use in my sauce. My mom makes veal meatballs which I always loved but then I met Steve and he won't eat veal. So now I make beef meatballs using his mother's recipe and I now prefer them to veal. Sorry mom, your meatballs are still awesome but I have to do for Steve what you did for Daddy!!!

It makes me laugh when people say "Spaghetti and Meatballs" because growing up in an Italian American household we never had meatballs when we ate spaghetti. Sundays were usually tubular pastas such as penne, ziti, rigatoni and occasionally fusilli (I loved them as a child, I called them roller coasters) and Thursdays (yes we also had pasta on Thursdays) we had spaghetti, linguini or angel hair, but that was never served with meatballs but instead a meat sauce (ground beef) or what my Mom called a Chicken Gravy (made with chicken legs and thighs), a marinara sauce with no meat at all or a tuna sauce (basic marinara with canned tuna added). My point is that Italian food has become so Americanized and when I hear Spaghetti and Meatballs I think Chef Boyardee...which you will never find in my house. EVER. I'm not sure about other Italian households but we also never ate our meat (sauce meat we called it)at the same time as the pasta. (However, I did take a picture of it together because I was too lazy to fish all the meatballs out of the pot.) It was always served in a platter as a second course with the salad. In my house salad is always served at the end of the meal. We even ate it in the same plate as our meat. That's just how we did it.

Anyway, enough of my rambling. Here's the recipe.

Lyn's Meatballs


2 lbs ground beef (85% lean)
½ large or medium onion, chopped
4-5 gloves garlic (minced)
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
¼ cup milk
2 eggs
salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup bread crumbs

Mix all ingredients together and then form meatballs. Brown on all sides in olive oil. When browned put in sauce to cook thru. Makes approx. 18 meatballs.

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Notice the little one for the cook!!! Yum!!!

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Michele's Basic Sauce


2 cans Tuttorosa crushed tomatoes (use whatever brand you like)
1 medium onion, diced
3-5 cloves garlic, minced
fresh basil, to taste (dried or frozen can also be used)
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (if you like more spice add more)
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp. sugar (optional)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil


1. Saute onion and garlic in oil. Add crushed red pepper, Italian seasoning and basil. Stir to combine flavors.

2. Add crushed tomatoes and stir. Fill about 1/3 can with water and swish around to clean tomatoes from sides and then pour into next can and do the same thing. Add to pot. Stir and add sugar, salt and pepper.

3. Let sauce come to a boil and add fried meatballs to the pot and stir gently. Reduce heat and let sauce simmer for 2 hours stirring frequently. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

If you want to add sausage, beef steaks, pork ribs or neckbones saute them in oil in the same pan as the meatballs and add to sauce when you add meatballs putting heavier meats in first.

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Bob said...

Mmmmm, meatballs. One of my favorites. Looks good, Michele!

Lisa said...

My grandfather used to eat his meatballs like that. And his salad at the end of the meal. THey say it helps with digestion. I'm a salad at the beginning of the meal person though. Guess the tradition didn't carry over! We do keep our meatballs separate from the pasta though still. These look yummy!

Lucy..♥ said...

Spaghetti & meatballs were never eaten together in our home growing up either!! Are we cousins??? ;-)


Criterium Event Marketing said...

Wow... nice work Michele. there's nothing better than a bel piatto di pasta! - Joe@italyville

Michele said...

Lisa - Thanks! I heard that too, it's supposed to help with digestion. Whatever the reason, that's how I like it. Although, it's probably better to eat it first so you fill up a little and eat less of the heavier food.

Lucy - I think we should check our family tree!

Thanks Bob and Joe!

vanillasugarblog said...

I love this! I make this every Sunday.

Elizabeth said...

I love meatballs. MMM...

P.S. I'm tagging you. See my blog for details. :)

Shane T. Wingerd said...

The only Carb I can think of that should be served with meatballs is a hoagie roll. ;)

Those look delicious Michele...!!

Unknown said...

That looks so good! The Italian music on your playlist gets you in the mood to eat it and makes you want to go make it1 :)

Ruth Daniels said...

Great post! Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

Veal and beef meatballs both sound delicious.

Stacey Snacks said...

I would love your mom's chicken gravy recipe. PLEASE!

Mary Bergfeld said...

Who doesn't like meatballs! I love the story and the next time I'm served pasta and meatballs on the same plate I'll think ..."Peasant!"
Thanks for sharing your story with us.

Barbara GF said...

You're a cook after my own heart, Michele — now that's a nice a sauce!

A Sunday slow-simmer sauce is aromatherapy in our house — ciao!

Aggie said...

I make my sauce and meatballs almost the same exact way!

And we always ate our salad at the end of the meal too!

Proud Italian Cook said...

You definitely delivered Michele!
I can smell it all cooking now!

sandwhichisthere said...

To substitute for veal in meatballs, dissolve one half packet of unflavored gelatin in the beaten eggs, let it sit for a bit, then mix in with the beef and pork. This gives them the required amount of collagen. This saved me from serving veal mixed with other meat. I have found that people, my own offspring included, who don't like veal seem to change their minds if you put Osso Buco on the table.
I also mash one or two anchovy fillets into the meatballs and then I eat the rest of the can of anchovies by myself and pour the oil into the sauce. Salad after the entree and before the bread, cheese, and fruit were our family tradition. We drank wine with the entree and having remnants of the vinagrette on the palate seemed to conflict with the wine. The port that came with the cheese and fruit didn't seem to mind.
Your blog brings back fond memories of old Mrs. Tocci's Sunday Sauce, meatballs, sausage, and braciole. I have the recipe if you want it.
New Jersey brings back thoughts of the best Italian food I ever had. A little place in Keyport called Without A Paddle, owned and operated by Ray Eulo the best cook that I ever met. It has since closed and he moved to Florida. He would broil a blue crab until the shell blackened and when you cracked it open out would come melted garlic butter. I have to stop now because there is saliva all over the keyboard

Jersey Girl Cooks said...

They look great. I am laughing because we always ate meatballs with ravioli and we never ate meat and pasta together. But we did eat the salad with or at the end of a meal, never before.

diana d said...

Michele, these look aewesome!! i might have to try this!

Tony's Stuff said...


I'm just loving your blog. I've been digging through some of the recipes this morning. You have some real old-school Itlaian stuff that is reminding me of my childhood. I loved my grandma Salerno so much. I spent a lot of time with her in the kitchen. My website here is my effort to keep her recipes and traditions going. In this fast-food generation cooking all day and spending a lot of time at the dinner table with family and freinds is becoming a lost art and that is so very sad! I'm glad to see your keeping these recipes going as well :-)

I have added a link to your blog on my website located here:
Anthony's List of Food BLogs and Forums".

You also might enoy the page I have up on the site about
My Italian Grandmother".

If you get some time check out my site: SpaghettiSauceAndMeatballs.Com - Anthony's Italian Recipes Just Like Grandma Used To Make :-)".

Mangiare, ottenere grandi! (Eat, Get Big!) grandma used to say!

Unknown said...

Hi, I am learning to cook new things...I am making your Meatballs and sauce.. looks great.. hope its as good as it looks.. I wanted to also say the music was so nice to have while I was cooking I kept my laptop open to ensure I used the receipe correctly and to my surprise you had Italian music.... what a added touch... thank you very much.. I kept it on until I finished making everything... I am portuguese (backround) and we love Italian food as my sister inlaw is from Calabria... thanks again....