Old School Tomato Sauce With Meatballs

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Total Time
3hrs
Prep 1 hr
Cook 2 hrs

I grew up on this recipe and always, always ,always have several jars, one in the fridge and the more in the freezer. There is no excuse for running out. My Grandma has been gone for many years now, but this is her recipe straight from the old country. I have made a couple of adjustments in the last few years to the ingredients in the meatballs. Made it a bit healthier. I hope it makes your family as happy as it makes mine!

Ingredients Nutrition

  • MEATBALLS

  • 1 12 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 12 lbs hot Italian sausage (removed from casing if you can't find it loose) or 1 12 lbs ground beef is fine too as is sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 cup grated pecorino romano cheese (buy the good stuff, it's worth it!)
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (I use fresh bread crumbs from double fiber bread Brownberry brand, the high fiber was a health thing)
  • 12 cup ketchup
  • 12-1 cup milk (Use your judgement, but these meatballs should be wetter than you might think, don't worry, they wil)
  • 2 eggs
  • 14 cup finely chopped fresh parsley (use less if you have dried parsley)
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic (or more to taste, I like more!)
  • salt and pepper, to taste, but be generous this makes a lot
  • For the Sauce

  • olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of your sauce pot, You'll need a big pot)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 10 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2 bay leaves (fresh if you have them)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (less if you are using dried)
  • 14 teaspoon hot pepper flakes (or to taste, we like it hot)
  • 4 (29 ounce) cans tomato sauce (I prefer Hunts)
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes (I prefer Hunts)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Start the sauce:.
  2. Put oil in bottom of pre-heated sauce pot and let it heat up over medium heat. A nice heavy pot is best.
  3. Add the onion, green pepper, bay leaves,parsley and red pepper flakes and saute for for about 5 minutes or until the
  4. onion is translucent.
  5. Add the garlic and saute another minute or two, don't let the garlic brown.
  6. Add the first can of tomato sauce.
  7. Place the 2 cans of stewed tomatoes in a food processor and blend till finely pureed, add them to the pot.
  8. Add the other three cans of sauce. I go slowly so that the sauce can slowly come to temperature without having to have the heat too high and risk burning it.
  9. Add the can of diced tomatoes at the end.
  10. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper.
  11. Turn heat to low and keep your eye on the pot while you prepare the meatballs. Stir occassionally. Don't let it burn.
  12. For the Meatballs:.
  13. Mix all the meatball ingredients together.
  14. I usually let the milk sit on the breadcrumbs for a few minutes to moisten them before I start combining the mixture together.
  15. They should be wet, don't panic, I let the mixture sit for about 10-15 minutes before I start forming the meatballs and it firms up a bit.
  16. Form them into balls and place as many as you can into a glass pie plate without touching. I have two pie plates going.
  17. Place the plate into your microwave, yes the microwave, and cook on high for 4 minutes. Grandma didn't do them this way, but they turn out great and it saves a ton of time and it's a whole lot less mess.
  18. Very carefully remove the pie plate from the oven and slide the contents into your simmering pot of sauce. No, I do not drain any of the fat. Darn stuff tastes great!
  19. Turn the heat up to about medium while you are adding the meatballs.
  20. Have your next pie plate of meatballs ready to go into the microwave and repeat process until you are out of meat. I usually get 3-4 plates, depends on how big you like your meatballs.
  21. Once everything is in the pot and is bubbling turn the heat back down to low and.
  22. Continue to very gently stir your pot of sauce with meatballs every now and then, you don't want to burn your sauce but you don't want to break up the meatballs either.
  23. Let simmer together for at least one hour. Longer won't hurt. Your entire neighborhood will smell amazing.
  24. Serve over your favorite pasta, or in your favorite recipe.
  25. I store them seperately, keep some in the fridge for another day and put the rest of the sauce in jars in the freezer. I freeze the meatballs individually and then store in bags. If you want to make more meatballs and freeze them before cooking, you can. Just place on a cookie sheet and freeze, then place in gallon size freezer bags. That way the next time you make the sauce it can be done and ready to eat in no time.
Most Helpful

Haven't made your recipe yet, but was excited to see someone from the area on 'zaar. I was just in your neck of the woods (Leroy and Fort Street) for Easter dinner today! Since I don't have a premium membership (yet), I have to email via a recipe review. Happy Easter to you and yours!