Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

Story by Natalie
Meatballs with Tomato Sauce
Tap any image to pin it.

“…there’s nothing new under the sun.” This seems to be true when it comes to cooking—particularly when it comes to cooking a culinary classic. Our topic today is meatballs.

There was always one thing in common: the long, slow simmer.

Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

To be completely honest, I had a something against long noodles and red sauce when I was a kid. It may have been because I knew that served on the side would be canned green beans (my other least favorite food at time). Or maybe my tastebuds knew that one day I would love food enough to write about it, and that a jar of bland red sauce resting atop overcooked noodles wasn’t the party they were looking for. At some point in my adult life, I got my first taste of a soft, flavorful, mouth-watering meatball served over perfectly al dente noodles that had been tossed in a rich red sauce. In that moment, everything changed.

I started asking anyone and everyone that had any Italian heritage how they made their meatballs and sauce. To my surprise, though they all claimed to make the best, the variations in ingredients and methods weren’t that different. There was always one thing in common: the long, slow simmer.

Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

So, after much trial and many errors, I present to you my (current) favorite meatballs.

Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

Serves 10


2 lbs ground beef
1 lb mild Italian sausage
3/4 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup Italian style bread crumbs
2 eggs
5 oz parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 tbsp salt
2 tsp pepper
4 tbsp olive oil
2 28 oz cans of tomato sauce
3 28 oz cans of whole stewed tomatoes
2 sticks butter
4 white onions, cut in half
2 lbs of your favorite pasta


  1. Place the meats, cheese, garlic, Italian parsley, eggs, bread crumbs, salt & pepper in a large bowl. It is important to not over mix the meat, so use your hands to make sure it is just mixed. Once all ingredients are combined, roll into 1 1/2 inch balls (about 36) and set aside on a baking dish.
  2. In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Working in small batches, sautè the meatballs until each side is just browned, then transfer back to the baking sheet.
  3. Without cleaning the Dutch oven, add tomatoes (in their juices), sauce, butter and onions. Once the butter is melted add all the meatballs to the sauce, stirring gently to cover them.
  4. Bring the sauce to a low simmer and allow to cook for 8 hours. After each hour give the sauce a gentle stir and, using the back of a wooden spoon, smash the whole tomatoes up against the side of the pot. This will help them break down in the cooking process.
  5. Before serving, remove onions from the sauce. Serve over a bed of al dente pasta and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.