Nonna's Meatballs and Pasta Sauce
Making homemade Italian meatballs is a simple process but you must let them simmer for the best results. They are so moist and perfect for pasta, subs, or on their own.
Recipe type: Italian Meatballs
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 60
  • 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-sized 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 bouillon cube mixed in with 1 cup of hot water
  • ½ 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.
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 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.
  • Meatball Ingredients:
  • 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 ones seasoned with cheese and parsley)
  • 1 teaspoon of water
  1. How To Make Pasta Sauce
  2. Method: 30 minutes of prep time
  3. Turn the stove on to medium heat and pull out a large deep pot
  4. Put the olive oil in the bottom to heat up
  5. Then add in the garlic and onion to sauté
  6. When the onion and garlic feel soft add the carrots and celery and sauté for 2 minutes
  7. You can now add in the paprika, salt, pepper, dry basil, dry oregano, bay leaf and stir for 2 minutes
  8. Add in the ½ cup of red wine until it reduces 1 minute or so
  9. Add in the 2 large cans or jars of crushed tomatoes and stir
  10. Add in the full can of tomato paste
  11. Add in the tablespoon of sugar
  12. Add in the 1 cup of chicken broth
  13. Add in one full can of water- I use the jar or can the tomato came in.
  14. I like to test the sauce for flavour once it comes to a boil and add additional spices as needed.
  15. It depends how much spice you like but the above is typically what I use.
  16. 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.
  17. Let the flavours come together and reduce. Stir every hour or put in the crockpot and leave it.
  18. Making the Meatballs
  19. Method- 30 minutes prep time
  20. In a large bowl put in your meat
  21. Add in your cheese
  22. Add in your garlic
  23. Add in your egg
  24. Add in your spices
  25. Add in onion
  26. Add in your breadcrumbs
  27. Add in a teaspoon of water
  28. How To Cook Meatballs In Sauce
  29. Now that you have all the ingredients in the bowl mix very gently with your washed clean hands.
  30. Tip: Do not over mix the meatballs as they won't be as soft and melt in your mouth.
  31. Once you have everything mixed I like to take a bit, fry it up and taste it.
  32. If it needs more flavour now is the time to add it to the bowl and gently mix.
  33. 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.
  34. Take out a large roasting pan and fill it with a half-inch of water
  35. Place the rolled meatballs in the roasting pan
  36. Pre-Heat over to 350 degrees
  37. 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.
  38. If you are using the crockpot you can simply drop the raw meatballs in the pot and walk away.
  39. You can also drop the raw meatballs in the sauce if you are using lean meats to make the meatballs.
  40. Once they come out of the oven I drop them gently into the pot of pasta sauce.
Recipe by Canadian Budget Binder at