Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Sunday Sauce and Meatballs

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketI got a few comments about "real Italian" sauce. So I thought I would post my recipe for it and my daddy's meatballs. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. I could never write a cookbook. I don't measure anything. So, this is a 'guess-timate' of sorts.

I collect cookbooks. All kinds. But, I don't typically follow a recipe down to the letter. I find a recipe that appeals to me. I read it and then interpret it in my own way. Rachael Ray is always saying on her show that "it's really about the method." And that's how I cook. I swap out, substitute and replace ingredients all of the time. Some of my kids favorite meals are the ones that 'I just threw together.' A little of this, a little of that. So feel free to change to change this recipe to suit the tastes of your family. I do however want to stress that pork makes the best sauce. My grandmother taught me that. And my father and his sisters all say the same thing. If you want to make a meat sauce, try making it with ground Italian sausage. It can be sweet or hot depending on your liking. My father always fries Italian sausage (in the casing) along with his meatballs. It just gives your sauce a better flavor. Holly is famous for saying that she doctors up jarred sauce. Well if you're going to go to the trouble of adding this or that to a jarred sauce, you might as well make your own. Even if you're making a quick marinara (meaning with no meat.) Fry your onions and garlic, add your herbs and a can of crushed tomatoes and a can of sauce. It's very easy and I think if you try it, you'd never go back to jarred sauce.


1-2 lb. country style ribs
1 large onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 large cans of crushed tomatoes
2 large cans of tomato sauce
2 large cans of tomato puree
1 large can of water
Handful of fresh, flat-leaf parsley, chopped
10-12 leaves fresh basil, chopped
Salt and pepper, paprika, crushed red pepper flakes, 2 T. sugar

In a very large sauce pot, brown ribs in a little extra-virgin olive oil. Set aside. In the same pot, saute onions and garlic until translucent. Add all of the tomatoes and one can of water. I swish water around the cans to get all of the tomato sauce (etc) out. Add your ribs back to the pot and meatballs. Season with salt and pepper, a small palmful of paprika, crushed red pepper (to your taste, but I add maybe a quarter size and I crush them in my hand to release the oils) and sugar. Now, if you prefer a sweeter sauce, add as much as you want. Sometimes I don't add any sugar. It all depends on the acidity of the tomatoes. This is strictly a judgment call. Add the fresh herbs and simmer for 2-3 hours.

Daddy's Meatballs

1 1/2 lb ground beef
3/4 lb ground veal
3/4 lb ground pork
3 eggs
1 C. Italian style bread crumbs
1/2 C. Parmeggiano-Reggiano or Romano cheese
Fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley (small handful, chopped)
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped.
Salt and pepper to taste

My father taught me that the key to moist meatballs is to wet your breadcrumbs. Add at least a 1/2 cup of water for each cup of breadcrumbs and let them soak. Mix all ingredients together, including moistened bread crumbs. Roll into a nice size ball, about the size of a plum. Fry in a little bit of olive oil, turning occasionally so as not to burn.

Edited to add comment: I realize this makes a large amount of sauce. But, on any given Sunday there may be 4 people eating or there may be 12 people eating. Make the entire batch and freeze some of it. It freezes well.


Anita said...

Oh! How amazing does this sound!? Thanks so much for the recipes... Can't wait to try that!
Great song, too, by the way... Doesn't get much cooler than the guys in the Rat Pack, does it? :) (I'm a big Frank Sinatra fan, too!)

Kristen said...

WOW, I am hungry for spaghetti at 8:30 AM. There is something crazy about that! It sounds wonderful! I totally know what you mean about recipes. I do the same. Find something that you like and adjust it to what your family will love. Thank you so much for sharing!

Patience-please said...

fun recipes! I learned from my dear Mother in Law, but there were no written recipes except for baked delights. "Gravy" was made with a little of this and some of that and don't skimp on the salt!
You have a lovely blog-

Terri and Bob said...

mmmm! I can't wait to try this!

Cris said...

How nice to come in and listen to an italian song! These are great recipes, thanks for sharing!

Mary said...

Yum-o, as Rachel Ray would say! My mother never followed a recipe for her meatballs, and every time she tasted a batch, she would say "they need more breadcrumbs," or "not enough pork!" We follow a recipe from Lidia Bastianich, and they seem to turn out pretty good, but I'm definitely going to try yours!

ShabbyInTheCity said...

Even at 8:48 in the morning...I could ciao down on this!

ShabbyInTheCity said...

Get it?

PAT said...

Hello Julie, I've noticed "Nunnie's Attic" and decided it is time to pay a visit.

You have a wonderful blog...I'll return.

I was just thinking about making meatballs, the other day. Your recipe sounds delightful.


justabeachkat said...

Good Grief Miss Julie!!! It's 10:30 and I'm hungry now!

Thanks for the recipes. And loved hearing Frank sing as I copied them down.


lori said...

I will be over for dinner...
The recipe sounds AMAZING!!
Thank you for the comments this morning...I see my blog as my journal..hoping someday to put it on disk for my children...if I can bless someone in the process, then that is a God thing!!

Again, what time is dinner??? Gotta get there from Georgia!!

Sweet Cottage Dreams said...

I will have to try these out! We love Italian food! I usually make turkey meatballs but wil try your version! MUAH! becky

JANET said...

A real Italian recipe! Thanks for sharing.

Flea Market Queen said...

Yum...sounds delish!
Suddenly I have a craving for meatballs...

Irene said...

Hi! I just wanted to say thanks for visiting my blog! We are sort of neighbors...I live in the heart of Applefest! Although I usually don't visit the festival as it is way too crowded for me!

Your recipe sounds delicious. I love cooking and love making homemade spaghetti sauce, I may have to try yours next time!!!

Rosemary said...

Sounds just about like my familiy recipes. Very much alike. What part of Italy is your family from?
Sounds really yummy!!
I am a meatball fanatic.

Bethany Hissong said...

Wow... I'm beginning to think you should have your own cooking show!!
Thanks for the recipes...I'm going to copy these down!!!

Alice said...

Well, no wonder my spaghetti sauce and meatballs don't taste as good as my sister-in-law's! I've been doing it wrong all these years. Thank you for the recipe; that evil sil would never share hers. :)

Cre8Tiva said...

oh i can't wait to try this sauce...i love spaghetti...my son always makes fun when i order it out...says we could make a wek's worth for what it costs...i do it anyway!!!...blessings, rebecca

Anonymous said...

Sounds Yummy and sweet of you to share.

Redneck Nerdboy! said...

I love recipes that are "put together"! And it's my opinion that it really is the spirit in which you eat that makes a big difference in your life... not so much what you eat!

Thank you for this. I will print it out and try it soon! :)

Dena ~ swaddlecottage said...

Oh Julie, this sounds so amazing! I can't wait to try it out. Keep those yummy italian recipies coming!


Counting Your Blessings said...

I've been asking my aunt for her sauce receipe for years and although I'm sure she means to give it to me, I never have gotten it. So, I'm just going to start using yours! What a wonderful blog friend you are, taking the time to leave personal messages for all these gals! You are a treasure. Blessings.. Polly

Meggie said...

Julie: Thanks so much for the recipe. In my family we had pasta every Sunday and Tuesday. I quickly learned that the sauce was never made the exact same way. The song by Dean Martin was a perfect condiment.

Michelle said...

How lucky we are - I have my dad's meatball recipe too! I grew up on Italian sausage as well :) Yum.. I'm so glad to post about a fond childhood memory..

Have a wonderful day, Michelle

Anonymous said...

Yum yum. I'm the same way, usually don't follow the recipe and make my own changes as I go along. Hope you had a great day and an even better tomorrow.

Cottage by the River said...

Wonderful I can't wait to try it out!


Joy said...

I so agree - I love turning recipes into my very own by adding or subtracting ingredients. :) Thanks for the meatball recipe - I've been looking for one for a long time!

BellaColle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BellaColle said...

oh girl, please forgive me...I deleted my last comment because I wanted to say 'thank you' and my Italian is a bit rusty...I make my own sauce now a days, cooking by smell. I will definatly try your father's meatballs recipe! sounds delicious. To my boy's chagrin, I can't ever make the same sauce twice!lol!
Here goes, Grazie Mille per cenone!
Please forgive if I didn't get it right... I wanted to say 'Thank you soo much for your great meal'
and might I add you are "bello"
My fair friend!

rosemary said...

my mom and grandmother made sweet sauce....adding a lot of sugar. I love sweet sauce, maybe it is a Sicilian thing.

Kari said...

Wow. When I alter a recipe, it turns into a disaster. Every single time. I just didn't get the "cooking" gene. I got the "eating" one instead...

joan said...

I love recipes! This sounds really good. Thanks so much for sharing. I make a sauce in the crockpot and leave it all day. Haven't done that in awhile though.

Emilie said...

Girl, I don't even know if I'm going to attempt to make your sauce! There's no way I could make it as good as you. This sounds so authentic.

Chip said...

My wife married a Italian (well, 1/2). When I married her she couldn't cook. Now, that girl can cook! I used to cook every night now I just help with dishes.

I will cut and paste this recipe for her.

Anonymous said...

I really like when people are expressing their opinion and thought. So I like the way you are writing

Anonymous said...

It is useful to try everything in practice anyway and I like that here it's always possible to find something new. :)