• Sandy

Sandy's Meatballs with her Simple Sunday Sauce

Updated: Feb 5, 2018


4 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

6 large cloves garlic, minced

2-28 oz cans of San Marzano whole tomatoes 

½ stick of salted butter 1 bay leaf

½ cup fresh basil, torn into pieces

¼ cup fresh oregano leaves

1 Tbs garlic powder

1 Tbs dried italian seasoning

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 cup dry red wine

Salt and Pepper - to taste


4 cups cubed white bread

½ cup milk

2 eggs

4 cloves garlic, finely minced

Kosher salt

Black pepper

2/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

1 ½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese

1 onion, finely minced (optional)

1 lb ground chuck

1 lb ground pork

Olive oil


In large sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and toss to coat with oil.  Cook 2-3 minutes. Do not brown.

Add tomatoes, crush by hand as adding to the pot.

Add remaining ingredients, except for the wine. Raise heat to high and bring to a boil.

Add wine and return to a boil.

Lower heat, place a lid partially on and simmer for 4-5 hours. Season to taste before serving.


In a small bowl soak the white bread in the milk. Squeeze most of the milk out of the bread and finely chop.

In a large mixing bowl, add the bread, eggs, garlic, a couple of big pinches of salt and pepper and remaining ingredients. Mix well. Cook a test meatball and adjust salt and pepper as needed.

Shape meat into golf ball sized meatballs.

In a large skill heat a generous amount of olive oil over medium heat. Pan fry the meatballs until browned on all sides add to red sauce and finish cooking.

Serves 8-10

Recipe Tips

San Marzano tomatoes have a wonderful flavor but you can substitute any whole canned tomatoes.

I love the flavor and consistency that butter adds to my sauce. It’s my secret ingredient. But, you can leave it out if you’re watching your calories.

Any hard, salty cheese can be used in place of the parmesan in the sauce and the meatballs.

You can substitute stock or even water for the red wine.

If I’ve got a random, leftover hot dog bun or hamburger roll laying around I often use it as part of the bread for the meatballs.

Using 2 or even 3 types of ground meat gives your meatballs a nice texture and flavor but if all you’ve got in house is one type of meat they will still be delicious. Ground turkey or chicken can be used for a lighter meatball.

Don’t overwork the meatballs when you’re combining the ingredients, they’ll be tough. Mix them just enough to get everything combined.

Wet your hands with water before forming your meatballs. It helps keep your hands from getting so messy.

If you don’t want to fry the meatballs you can place them on a rimmed baking sheet and bake them at 350 for 20-25 minutes until no pink remains in the middle.

I like to make a double batch of the meatballs and freeze some for another time. Just place the extra cooked meatballs in a zip top bag and toss in the freezer.