Posted: April 9, 2014 in Food, Italian, Recipes, san marzano, tomatoes
Tags: , , , , , , ,

There’s something magical about a simple plate of spaghetti and meatballs. When my parents took me to an Italian restaurant as a child, a plate of spaghetti and meatballs made me feel like the luckiest kid on the planet. And even now, when I prepare a plate of spaghetti and meatballs for my 7-year-old daughter, she can’t wait to sit down at the dinner table. She’s so busy shoveling the food into her mouth, she can’t even speak. I just get a quick thumbs-up between bites! meatballs


Great meatballs start with great meat. I always use 80/20 grass-fed beef. I don’t use a ton of breadcrumbs as filler. And the tomato sauce is homemade as well, from canned tomatoes. I start with the sauce…



Inspired by a lovely but large Italian lady I once knew, my Big Fat Italian Mama sauce is the best tasting sauce I’ve had anywhere.



1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, through a press

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

10 cups ground and peeled tomatoes…or 3 cans (28 oz.) tomatoes pureed in food processor

2 teaspoons each: dried oregano, basil and parsley

3/4 teaspoon each anise seed and fennel seed

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 bay leaves

1 small can (6 oz.) tomato paste

1 teaspoon sugar (optional)


Heat olive oil in a large pot and add the onions. Cook until onions are translucent, then add the garlic. Stir for 10 seconds.

Add tomatoes and cook on high until orange foam disappears, stirring frequently. Don’t let it burn.

Add oregano, basil, parsley, anise seed, fennel seed, salt and pepper, bay leaves and tomato paste. Allow sauce to just come to a boil so that the tomato paste reaches optimum thickening power.

Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for at least an hour, until sauce reaches desired thickness. Stir often.


While the sauce is cooking, I start the meatballs…





2 lbs grass-fed ground beef

1 cup plain breadcrumbs (homemade are best)

2 tablespoons dried parsley

2 tablespoons dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried basil

1 tablespoon granulated garlic

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons salt

2 eggs, cracked and scrambled

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


Mix all the ingredients, except the olive oil, thoroughly but gently in a large bowl. Don’t overwork it.

Pour olive oil a medium-hot pan (don’t let it burn), make the meatballs, and sear them on all sides until brown.

When the meatballs are nice and brown, place them into the pot of sauce, making sure they are covered. Pour all the little bits and the olive oil from the pan into the sauce as well! Great flavor there.

Cover the pot and cook the meatballs in the sauce on low for a few hours. Pour over pasta, and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.


  1. misterk3 says:

    great post, love it!


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