What to cook with meatballs? Pasta Sauce of course! Well you’ve been waiting for it and here it is, Nonna’s Meatballs and Pasta Sauce. You can also create this easy pasta sauce and meatballs in a crock-pot if you want to set it and forget it. If you like pasta sauce in the jar, you have no idea what you are missing with homemade sauce.
I’ll warn you this sauce is loaded with fresh garlic and basil and it tastes like nothing you’ve ever tasted before in a sauce. Unless of course you have an Italian nonna or have the secret recipe. I think every family who makes their own pasta sauce no matter what culture they are from has their own magic that they put into the pot.
Making an easy Italian pasta sauce takes no effort at all. If you don’t like meatballs and would prefer a meat sauce for your pasta you can still make a huge pot of sauce that will taste better than anything you will ever buy in a can. All you need to do is sautee the meat ingredients and add them right into the tomato sauce. If you don’t like the meat, make it a meatless pasta sauce. The choices are endless.
This recipe might even save your money in your grocery budget because you won’t have to be wasting cash buying those expensive jars of pasta sauce. I’m sure they are convenient to open and pour but there’s no reason you can create some freezer meals out of this sauce and do the same thing. If you grow a garden from seed or buy tomato plants and have tomatoes you can easily can them for pasta sauces and other recipes so you have them in your house all year long.
Crock-Pot Meatballs and Sauce
I like to let it simmer in the crock pot for 8 hours minimum to make sure the meatballs are cooked and soft. I like to make this authentic Italian pasta sauce on a weekend morning and let it simmer all day.You can store leftovers in containers for the freezer especially the sauce which always comes in handy in our house.
I didn’t make my own pasta for this recipe but if you want to make homemade pasta there are loads of Italian pasta recipes all over the internet. If you look on You Tube I’m sure you will find a video on how to make Italian pasta. Maybe in the upcoming recipes you may see that I’ll create a pasta recipe homemade just for you, my fans. Pasta is not difficult to make at all, just plan ahead and give yourself some time. You can whip it up faster than you think.
Time: 1 hour to prep, make sauce and meatballs
Cooking Time: 8 hours on a low simmer
The Pasta Sauce
Approximate cost: $4.50-5.00
Pasta Sauce Ingredients:
- 2 x large cans of crushed tomatoes, or jarred tomatoes from your garden
- 1 x can of tomato paste
- 1 x head of garlic peeled and chopped
- 2 x medium size onion peeled and chopped
- 1 x carrot peeled and chopped into small pieces
- 3 x stalks of celery chopped into small pieces
- Dry Oregano 2 tablespoons
- Bay Leaf x 2
- Dry Basil 2 tablespoons
- Fresh Bunch of Basil chopped or 2 homemade basil cubes
- Paprika 1 teaspoon
- 1 x chicken bullion cube mixed in with 1 cup of hot water
- 1/2 cup red dry Italian wine or whatever red wine you have handy
- Salt 1 tablespoon- adjust as needed. Tip: If you are on a low sodium diet or just want to cut salt add at your discretion.
- pepper 1 tablespoon
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large can about 2 cups of cold water- Tip: I like to fill the tomato can or jar with water, swish it around to get all the nice tomato bits out.
How To Make Pasta Sauce
Method: 30 minutes prep time
- Turn the stove on to a medium heat and pull out a large deep pot
- Put the olive oil in the bottom to heat up
- Then add in the garlic and onion to sauté
- When the onion and garlic feel soft add the carrots and celery and sauté for 2 minutes
- You can now add in the paprika, salt, pepper, dry basil, dry oregano, bay leaf and stir for 2 minutes
- Add in the 1/2 cup of red wine until it reduces 1 minute or so
- Add in the 2 large cans or jars of crushed tomatoes and stir
- Add in the full can of tomato paste
- Add in the tablespoon of sugar
- Add in the 1 cup of chicken broth
- Add in one full can of water- I use the jar or can the tomato came in.
I like to test the sauce for flavour once it comes to a boil and add more spices as needed. It really depends how much spice you like but the above is typically what I use. Once the sauce comes to a boil reduce the heat to low or number 2 on the dial or low on the gas for about 8 hours. Let the flavours come together and reduce. Stir every hour or put in the crock pot and leave it.
- 1 cup of chopped prosciutto and fry that with the garlic and onions.
- Use 2 lbs ground beef for a meat Bolognese sauce
- Use Chicken Breast pieces with garlic, prosciutto and onions
How To Make Meatballs
Approximate cost $8.50
- 1lb Pork mince
- 1lb Lean Beef or Veal mince
- 1 medium onion chopped fine
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon of fresh pepper
- 4 cloves of garlic chopped fine
- 1 teaspoon of onion powder
- 1 cup of Fresh Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padana Grated- Not the stuff in the jars or pre-grated please don’t use that stuff.
- 1 cup of Freshly grated Romano Cheese
- 2 tablespoons of dry parsley flakes
- 1 egg
- 2 cups of Italian breadcrumbs (I prefer the one’s seasoned with cheese and parsley)
- 1 teaspoon of water
Making The Meatballs
Method- 30 minutes prep time
- In a large bowl put in your meat
- Add in your cheese
- Add in your garlic
- Add in your egg
- Add in your spices
- Add in onion
- Add in your breadcrumbs
- Add in teaspoon of water
How To Cook Meatballs In Sauce
Now that you have all the ingredients in the bowl mix very gently with your washed clean hands. Tip: Do not over mix the meatballs as they won’t be as soft and melt in your mouth. Once you have everything mixed I like to take a bit, fry it up and taste it. If it needs more flavour now is the time to add it to the bowl and gently mix.
Tip: Remember you can always add but can’t take away. Once you have the flavour you wish I like to roll my meat into small meatballs. I typically get around 60 from a batch this size. I would say the size of a walnut.
- Take out a large roasting pan and fill it with a half-inch of water
- Place the rolled meatballs in the roasting pan
Pre-Heat over to 350 degrees
- Once all the meatballs are in the pan put them in the oven for about 15 mins. I do this to render some of the fat off so my sauce isn’t too oily. If you are using the crock pot you can simply drop the raw meatballs in the pot and walk away.
- You can also drop the raw meatballs in the sauce if you are using lean meats to make the meatballs.
- Once they come out of the oven I drop them gently into the pot of pasta sauce.
Tip: When you come to stir your pasta sauce in the pot try not to break the meatballs. Stir gently.
After 8 hours I shut the stove off and make a pot of pasta for the family to enjoy my Meatballs and Sauce.
You can add Parmigiano cheese on top of your pasta and meatballs if you wish.
Pasta Cost- I typically pay $0.99 or less (although I want to try to make fresh pasta) I like to cook this Al Dente.
The sauce lasts us for about 5 meals for 2 or would feed 1o people with around 6 meatballs each.
Serve with lots of Fresh Bread or rolls… $$0.99 at Wal-Mart Loaf of Italian Bread. I would love to make my homemade Kalamata Olive bread from scratch something else I will tackle this year. With this pasta and meatballs lunch or dinner add a side salad if you wish and a nice glass of red wine.
Total Cost- $5.00+$8.50+$0.99 +$0.99= $0.99 =$16.47 to feed 10 people is $1.65 each for the freshest pasta sauce and meatballs around! You can’t beat that. Keep in mind although I say it feed ten I’m talking about portioned meals. If you plan to eat an entire plate full with 6 meatballs each obviously this will change the portion equation.
Note: I added in 2 boxes of pasta to feed 10
Prices will vary depending on where you live and if you use coupons or find great deals on your meat and produce. This is typically what we would pay to make this Meatballs and Pasta sauce recipe. From my family to yours, enjoy.
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