My recipe for these Authentic Italian Meatballs and Sauce comes from my Italian Grandmother and Great Aunt on my Mom’s side. I promise you it doesn’t get any more traditional than my Italian Meatballs in Sauce
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I grew up in an Italian family where Sunday dinner was at 1:00 PM every week at my Great Grandmother’s house in Brooklyn. Attendance was mandatory and included all of my extended family of aunts and cousins. As a kid you take for granted these moments in time, but they definitely contribute to the foundation of who you grow into as an adult. Not only from time spent with family, but the food. Food has become a huge part of my life and how I carry on traditions and pass those on to my own daughter.
This meatball recipe is adapted from my Aunt Pat, who passed away last year at the age of 95. The sauce is from my beloved Grandmother, my Nani Rita who my daughter is named after. Ive made some changes over the years to make them my own. I bake my meatballs in the oven instead of frying them because, not only are they healthier, I find that they stay together better and there is less mess. I love to cook, but I HATE to clean (and I’m also not very good at cleaning lol). Some things just don’t change-like using an “eggshell” of water to make the meatballs “fluff” and handfulls as measurements, as per my Aunt Pat.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 pound ground veal
- 6 handfuls Italian seasoned bread crumbs (2 handfuls for each pound of meat)
- 3 handfuls grated parmesan cheese (1 handful per each pound of meat)
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 eggshells of water
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
- FOR THE SAUCE:
- 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 small can Tomato Paste
- 2 cans of water (use tomato paste can). Or alternatively 1 1/2 cups
- 2-28 ounce can Crushed Tomatoes (I like San Marzano tomatoes)
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1 carrot, grated (for sweetness instead of using sugar)
- Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine. all meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Mix on lowest setting until ingredients are just combined. Don't over mix or your meatballs will be tough. I use my kitchen aid mixer, but if you don't have one it is fine to use a large bowl and a mixer or even your hands.
Lightly brush a baking sheet with Extra Virgin Olive oil. Form meat mixture into meatballs and place on baking sheet about an inch apart. Bake until lightly browned, approximately 20 minutes. You don't want them cooked through, just browned so they hold together. They will finish cooking in the sauce.
MAKE THE SAUCE:
Heat Olive Oil in a large pot. Add onions, a little salt, and cook until softened.
Add garlic and cook another minute.
Add the Tomato paste, water, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to lowest setting, cover partially and simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
Increase heat to medium high. Add crushed tomatoes, wine, grated carrot, and season with some more salt and pepper. Bring to a slight boil, reduce heat to low.
Add the meatballs. Partially cover and simmer for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure the sauce doesn't stick to the bottom.