Spaghetti & Meatballs

Joined Oct 4, 2001
Hello out there, As an avid home cook, I have been in search of a meatball recipe that would formulate the basis of my sauce. The sauce comes down from a old Italian family recipe that was remembered in grandmas head and not written. It seems to be lacking a certain flavor and I'm quite certain it is bacause I am using store bought meatballs, only because I have yet to find an authentic meatball recipe! Also, my sauce tends to lean to bland as I do not wish to kill it with Itialin seasonings or basil. Is there a certain herb or spice I should always include while making? I would appreciate any help!
Thanks :confused:
Joined Jul 28, 2001
I must agree that there is not a perfect meatball or sauce recipe, also all chefs will argue that there is a minestrone recipe. These are all peasant dishes made with whatever is available but with a few constant ingredients. If your cooking your meatballs in the sauce raw, try blending pec and mild romano so it does not melt. Also try to incorporate some sort of cured or raw pork w/fat when sauteeing your vege's for your gravy.
Joined Oct 4, 2001
Excellant ideas all, Thank you very much. From the basis of my sauce, I meant frying them in olive oil, and including the drippings into the sauce. I see now that the ultimate meatball exists only in ones mind, and not on a card. Thanks again :)
Joined Jul 1, 2001
I agree that there is not a recipe for meatballs and sauce that is a "one-size-fits-all". However, the Cooks Illustrated recipe for meatballs is pretty incredible. I usually make a triple batch and freeze so I have meatballs that are delicious and moist anytime I need them. Also, I have developed a sauce that is based on Rao's sausage-tomato sauce recipe. It is the best sauce I've ever tasted.
Joined Mar 6, 2001
On Foodtv the other day Sara Molton had a homecook on to demo her "gravy and meatballs" named Vita Greco. I didn't listen closely until she began cooking, there was something mentioned about the fact this womens sauce won some taste test. Sara Molton seemed to really like her cooking!

Anyway I thought her "gravy" (which most of us call sauce) looked wonderful!... enough that I printed out the recipe from foodtv's website and can't wait to make it.

I thought you might be interested also.???.
Look it up at

then click on celebrite chefs, scroll down and click on sara moltons' recipes. The show aired on Tues. Oct. 16 the show tittle was "Got Sauce".
Joined Mar 6, 2001
oops I forgot something.... This isn't mentioned with the recipe.

On air Mrs. Greco mentioned that the secret to great meatballs was not over cooking them before you add them to your sauce. You should just pan fry them till 1/2 way done (at the most!), then add to your sauce. This method allows the meatball to soak up the tomato sauce into the meatball and keeps it very moist and flavorful. VS over frying your meatballs makes a crust that the sauce doesn't pentatrate and they remain firm/rubbery.
Joined Nov 29, 2001
Here's a meatball recipe that I've been using for years...

Oil for frying
2 lbs. Ground Beef or combination of ground beef/pork/veal
3 eggs
1 small chopped onion
2-3 slices good bread run under tap for a few seconds
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 tsp. dry basil
S&P to taste

Combine all ingredients well. A food processor is great for this. Form into balls (size is up to you). Saute in pan until outer crust is formed (this takes a few minutes). The insides will not be cooked. As the meatballs are par-fried, place them into your pot of tomato sauce. Once all meatballs have been added, one hour cooking time should be sufficient.

Some great additions to meat gravy:

Neck Bones
Short ribs
One whole peeled small onion (put in right after tomato is assembled)

For the truly adventurous:

Pig's feet
Pig's knuckes
Pig's Skin

Hey don't knock it till you've tried it! :)

P.S. After all this meat has been fried, add the oil to the tomato. This oil is packed with flavor and this is hardly a diet dish anyway.


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Joined Oct 5, 2001
Here is a good basic recipe that I like to use.

1# ground chuck
1# ground pork
4 slices of white bread crusts removed and soaked in a cup of buttermilk (you can replace buttermilk with yogurt).
chopped fresh parsley
fresh chopped garlic
Fresh grated parmesan

The trick to great meatballs is to not pack them too tightly. Also fry them in a good quality olive oil and do not over cook them.
Joined Feb 21, 2001
I used to work in a place that had a motto..Simply Italian and our meat sauce was made much as Chiffonae describes. The absolute best thing on the menu was fettucine with meat sauce, after the sauce had cooked in the steam table for two days. Fresh homemade fettucine tossed with little unsalted butter, parmagiano reggiano, pecorino romano, and some of the meat sauce. Sublime. And, the pigs feet do add a silky gelatinous touch.
Joined Mar 13, 2001
6 cups bread cubes
1 pound of ground veal
1 pound of pork butt
1/2 pound of beef chuck
1/3 pound of pork fat
1/3 cup of chopped onions
4 tbsp. grated parmesan
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp. dry marjoram
3 whole eggs beaten
2 tbsp. parsley
1 tbsp. olive oil

Blend all the ingredients in a bowl, save the olive oil. Then, transfer to food processor and add the oil. Blend until smooth.

Scoop out with an ice cream scoop and shape into balls. Put onto a tray and bake at 375º for 25 minutes.

Makes approximately 35 balls.

P.S.: I like Wendy's idea of cooking the meat balls only until halfway done. I will try that next time. :lips:
Joined Apr 19, 2001
I got this from a little old Italian lady I met in a laundry mat years ago!

Make your favorite meatballs (see any of the recipes above) to suit your taste, but season them a little more heavily than you normally would. Then, brown a piece of pork shoulder in some oil in a heavy pot, add some cut up pieces of pepperoni, and put the meatballs back in. Add some minced garlic and crushed fennel seed to your taste, and add the tomato product (canned Marzano tomatoes and tomato puree, plus tomato paste, a bay leaf, and some red wine. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer low all day. The last ten minutes, add some chopped basil.

the spices in the pepperoni serve as seasoning for the sauce; remove all the meats, and serve on the side with the pasta. YuM!
Joined Oct 16, 2001
old hard bread very dry then soaked in milk make sure they are small pieces, to your meat add grated onion,fresh smashed garlic,kosher salt ,fresh ground black pepper not too small though, the soaked bread and fresh parm,and fresh parsley. mix well taste roll and cook
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