Sunday, September 12, 2010

Homemade Meatballs and Pasta Sauce

Today was a wonderful day. I made the right call and dialed Bernadette Paolo, a good friend and someone I call Aunt Bern. Little did I know that after I called Ms. Bernadette Paolo that we’d be cooking today. A long time associate and friend of Ms. Paolo was recovering from surgery, so Ms. Paolo’s mission today was to prepare homemade meatballs and pasta sauce, salad with breaded chicken thighs and Potato Gnocchi. Did I mention Ms. Paolo is Italian? And similar to her Italian heritage, one entrĂ©e is never enough.

Similar to my Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies w/ Pecans recipe, I took pictures for nearly each step. And this recipe includes rough measurements. A real cook/chef doesn’t use measurements. It’s all in the eye.

The ingredients were top of the line. If you can, please, don’t skimp on anything. All ingredients, with the exception of dry herbs, should be fresh. No Kraft cheese Parmesan, please. It will change the taste of your food.

Lastly, before I list the good stuff, there are 2 secret ingredients to this recipe that Ms. Bernadette Paolo has sworn me to secrecy on (sorry). What I will say is that the missing ingredients from this list were added to make the meatballs extra soft. Bon appetit!

Homemade Meatballs

Ingredients –Yields about 20 meatballs

2 ½ lbs. of ground beef (extra lean, ground chuck)
- 5 eggs (for every 1-lb. of meat you use 2 eggs) to compensate for the 2-½ lbs.
- 1 cup of Progress breadcrumbs
- Cup and ½ of Parmesan
- ¾ a cup of parsley, dice up

- Crushed red pepper – about ½ a tablespoon
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tablespoon of sea salt
- ½ cup of olive oil


Take all the ingredients and into a large bowl, mix all the ingredients.
In a large pan, put enough olive oil to coat the bottom.

Make large/small (your choice) meatballs and place on the hot pan. Brown all sides of the meatballs (flip with a spoon). Once all sides of the meatball have browned, remove from the pan and place on a paper towel. You’re going to drain the oil from the meatballs before you place in the pasta sauce to finish cooking. The meatballs will simmer in the pasta sauce for about 1 hour.

Homemade Pasta Sauce


- 2 garlic cloves – unchopped
- Olive oil
- 3 cans of Plum tomatoes (Italian – Furmano’s)
- Fresh or dry basil (few dabs)
- Garlic powder (few dabs)
- Oregano
- Dry bay leafs
- Sea salt
- Pepper
- 3 pieces of garlic, chopped
- Red wine (i.e. Cabernet Sauvignon)
- 2 cans of tomato paste
- 2 cans of water (filled into the tomato paste cans)


First take the olive oil and pour enough in a large pot to cover the bottom. Place the 2 unchopped garlic gloves and place in the pot. Brown, DO NOT BURN, the garlic gloves and then remove from the pot.

Pour the 3 cans of plum tomatoes in the pot. Add a few dabs of the basil, garlic powder, oregano, bay leafs, sea salt, pepper and the additional garlic, chopped; ½ cup of red wine (or less, as desired); tomato paste and water. Bring everything to a boil and then lower to a simmer.

Take the meatballs, 1-by-1, firm up with your hands and add them to the pasta sauce. The meatballs will finish cooking in the pasta sauce and firm up. The pasta sauce should simmer for at least 1 hour.

Bon appetit!

- Rani Robinson, Good Food

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