Monday, March 26, 2012

Homemade Marinara Sauce with Meatballs

There are some recipes that you've had for years and it doesn't turn out the same way each time. This is one of those recipes. I acquired this from my aunt who married into an Italian family. The ingredient list only sparingly includes measurements (i.e., it indicates "three cans of tomatoes," but doesn't specify size) and omits certain seasonings in the ingredients list, but mentions them in the body of the directions. In any case, it's easy to experiment with this recipe and it still turns out fabulous. I had a few friends over to watch the season premiere of Mad Men and this traditional, Italian meal was a hit. Even if I made it up as I went along. Be sure to allow some time for this, because I think it's best for the sauce to simmer for 1 1/2-2 hours. And invite friends,  because it makes a ton (but lucky for me...freezes very well!) My apologies for the bad photo...I was too busy drinking wine and ogling over Jon Hamm to remember to take a decent photo.

Homemade Marinara Sauce with Meatballs (serves 8 hungry people)


  • Olive oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • fresh chopped parsley (guesstimate, I have no idea how much I ended up using)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 TB oregano
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Fresh basil (approximately 1/4 cup)
  • 3 (28 oz) cans of crushed tomatoes (plum, preferably) in sauce
  • 1 (15 oz) can of tomato sauce
  • 2 carrots (cut up)
  • 1 TB salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 3 sweet Italian sausage links (optional, but I think add great flavor)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Put olive oil in lagre cooking pot, put enough in to cover the bottom of the pan. Put the chopped garlic and chopped onions in and simmer until light brown color.

Add the 3 cans of tomatoes in sauce. Also add tomato sauce and mix. Add the cut up carrots, which help cut the acidity in the sauce.

Next add the salt and chopped parsley. Add basil leaves and oregano to the sauce. Add bay leaves and 1/2 tsp sugar in the gravy. Simmer for 1 1/2-2 hours.

Meanwhile,  in a large bowl combine the ground beef, eggs, parsley, bread crumbs, 1/2 tsp salt and a little pepper. Sprinkly in the garlic and onion powders. Mix up and make into meatballs. Put the meatballs into a frying pan (coated in olive oil and brown each side. Then add meatballs to the sauce.

Brown sausage if desire and then add to the sauce. The meat can probably sit in the sauce for up to 1 1/2 hours as it simmers. Enjoy over your favorite pasta. I like to serve with fresh shredded parmesean.

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