One of the biggest requests that I have from family and friends is “how do you make your sauce and meatballs?”…..read on…. I have wonderful memories of creating homemade pasta sauce, I hate to tell people that my family has NEVER had store bought jar sauce!!!! When my son, Rob, was little, he LOVED drinking my homemade sauce from a coffee cup…he could sneak into the kitchen when he thought no one was looking and help himself to cup after cup…..
My niece, Tiffany, is another lover of my “sauce ‘n’ balls” (as she calls it)…after moving to TN from CT, when I would visit her I would bring her some sauce. She would take the container and hide in another part of the house devouring the contents of the container…so funny, she would not share it with anyone!!!!
Yes, lots of GREAT memories, the smell of the sauce…yum… Rob is now in the Army, stationed in Fort Hood, TX….he’ll be home for a visit in a few weeks. So, I thought I would make a BIG batch of “sauce ‘n’ balls” for him to take back to Ft. Hood when he comes home…that will be a nice surprise for him…..
Below you will find step by step instructions for making your own homemade “sauce ‘n balls”…of course homemade sauce is ALWAYS best if you are able to “can” your own tomatoes, (see below video “how to can tomatoes”), however, in a pinch I recommend “Pomi” brand, they are in a box and do not have the “metallic” taste of the other brands…..
For the meatballs you will need, 1 pound ground round, 1/2 pound ground pork, ½ pound ground veal, 3 eggs, 1 chopped onion, minced garlic, Italian flavored bread crumbs, fresh parsley, milk, basil, oregano, grated parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, black pepper, salt, and fennel seeds….(yes)…for the sauce you will need extra virgin olive oil, bacon, chopped onions, garlic, red italian wine, tomatoes, tomato paste, fresh parsley, basil, oregano, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, black pepper and fennel seeds.
First, pre-heat a large stockpot. Add 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil. Once the oil is heated, add 1/4 cup chopped bacon. Cook the bacon over medium heat until nice and crunchy. Once cooked, remove from the pan.
While your bacon is cooking; in a food processor add 3 onions and 1 large garlic bulb. Process until chunky. —
In a large mixing bowl, add 1 cup of the chopped onion/garlic mixture, ground round, ground pork, ground veal, 1/2 to 1 cup Italian flavored bread crumbs, 1/4 cup chopped parsley, 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, 3 eggs, 1/3 cup milk, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1-2 teaspoons basil, 2 teaspoons crushed fennel seeds (a coffee grinder is best) red pepper flakes to taste, ground black pepper, and salt to taste. Mix ingredient until thoroughly combined, but do not over-mix. If the mixture is too thin, add additional breadcrumbs; too dry, add additional milk. Roll into a 1 1/2″ diameter ball. If you have the right consistency the ball should hold together without deforming when placed in the hot oil.
Add 2 pounds hot Italian sausage, skin removed, cut into 3″ pieces, into the hot bacon grease. Brown on all sides. Remove from the saucepan. Add meatballs, in small batches without overcrowding the pan. Brown meatballs on all sides and remove from the saucepan.
Add remaining onion/garlic mixture to the pan drippings and cook until soft and transparent, about 5-10 minutes. Deglaze pan with 1 cup of red wine…Simmer 5 minutes; add 7 quarts tomatoes, 2 cans tomato paste, 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley, 1 tablespoon oregano, 2 tablespoons basil, 1 tablespoon crushed fennel seeds, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 4-5 bay leaves and cooked bacon. Stir until well combined. Let sauce simmer, uncovered, 2-4 hours, or until thick. Add meatballs and sausage and continue to simmer an additional 30 minutes. Serve over GOOD Italian cooked pasta and sprinkle with well aged Parmesan Reggiano cheese. This recipe will make enough sauce for 7-8 meals for four. Freeze sauce for up to 6 months.