Grandma’s Sunday Sauce

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Meatballs. Sauce. Mostaccioli. Parmesan. This was my absolute favorite meal growing up. It’s what I requested on birthdays, what we had during holidays, and what we had on a random Tuesday night if my Mom remembered to defrost the “sauce” before heading off to work.

My Sicilian Grandmother didn’t have a bunch of recipes in her repertoire, but boy could she make sauce! My Mom and I watched her for years as she chopped the parsley, mixed up the meat by hand and fried up the meatballs without splattering her favorite blue apron. We watched, we wrote it down, we practiced. But like any true Sicilian she always kept hidden a piece of her recipe. Unfortunately my beloved Grandma has passed and so too has the exact recipe. After many attempts, my Mom and I have come as close as we can,and while it’s always delicious, it’s never exactly quite like Grandma’s!

Start by making the meatballs. I like to use a combination of ground sirloin, pork, and veal.

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Mix together the parmesan cheese, parsley and breadcrumbs in a separate bowl and then add in with the meat. Mix with your hands, it may get a bit messy! :) Add the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Pour in the beaten eggs, slowly until you get the right consistency, and gently mix. The trick is that you want your meatballs to be just wet enough to hold their shape. If you have to much egg, add more breadcrumbs and cheese, until you get the right consistency. You can never have enough cheese! Are your hands tired of mixing by now?

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Tell your hands to keep on going and roll out those meatballs! I prefer a smaller size meatball, about the size of a golf ball. Set the meatballs on a clean plate so they are ready to fry.

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Now the worst part, frying, unless you particularly enjoy being spattered by hot oil! Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Heat 1 – 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. (If you are courageous, you can take on two pans at one time!) Make sure the oil fully coats the entire bottom of the pan. Fry about 4 -8 meatballs (depending on your size pan) for about 1 – 2 minutes. (You don’t need to fully cook them as you are going to bake them). You want to constantly move the meatballs around, so that they are browned evenly on all sides. Once nicely browned so they hold their shape, remove and place in a large baking dish. Repeat until you have browned all of those suckers! Set the frying pan to the side and do not discard the drippings. Bake the meatballs at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes until cooked through.

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In the same frying pan that you browned the meatballs, heat 1- 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Grate the onion directly in the pan and lightly brown being carefully not to burn. Season with salt and pepper.

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Add the wine to the pan and deglaze with the onion and meat drippings.

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In a large sauce pot (6 quarts), poor in the wine, onion and meat drippings. Add in the 2 large cans of tomato sauce and 6 small cans of tomato paste. Use the small paste cans to add in 24 oz of water. Add in the basil, oregano, baking soda, sugar, and the bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper. Stir, stir stir.

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Carefully add the meatballs to the sauce and let the sauce simmer. Keep scraping down the sides and the bottom so it doesn’t burn. Simmer for at least 4 hours. Before serving, pull out the bay leaf.

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Serve over you favorite pasta!

INGREDIENTS

For the Meatballs

  • 1 lb. ground sirloin
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 lb. ground veal
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 cup chopped regular parsley
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 – 3 eggs beaten
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the Sauce

  • 1/2 white onion grated
  • 1/2 cup of red wine
  • 2 large cans of tomato sauce
  • 6 small cans (6 oz) of tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. of dried basil
  • 1 tbsp. of dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 bay leave
Grandma's Sunday Sauce
Meatballs. Sauce. Mostaccioli. Parmesan. Pure Italian Heaven.
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Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
4 hr
Total Time
5 hr
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
4 hr
Total Time
5 hr
Ingredients
  1. For the Meatballs
  2. 1 lb. ground sirloin
  3. 1 lb. ground pork
  4. 1 lb. ground veal
  5. 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  6. 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  7. 1/8 cup chopped regular parsley
  8. 2 cloves minced garlic
  9. 2 – 3 eggs beaten
  10. salt and pepper to taste
  11. For the Sauce
  12. 1/2 white onion grated
  13. 1/2 cup of red wine
  14. 2 large cans of tomato sauce
  15. 6 small cans (6 oz) of tomato paste
  16. 1 tbsp. of dried basil
  17. 1 tbsp. of dried oregano
  18. 1/2 tsp. sugar
  19. 1 tsp. baking soda
  20. 1 bay leave
Instructions
  1. Start with the meatballs. Mix together the parmesan cheese, parsley and breadcrumbs in a separate bowl. Add in with the meat in large bowl. Mix with your hands. Add the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Pour in the beaten eggs, slowly until you get the right consistency, and gently mix. (You want your meatballs to be just wet enough to hold their shape. If you have to much egg, add more breadcrumbs and cheese, until you get the right consistency.)
  2. Roll out the meatballs. I prefer a smaller size meatball, about the size of a golf ball. Set the meatballs on a clean plate so they are ready to fry.
  3. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Heat 1 – 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Make sure the oil fully coats the entire bottom of the pan. Fry about 4 -8 meatballs (depending on your size pan) for about 1 - 2 minutes. (You don’t need to fully cook them as you are going to bake them). You want to constantly move the meatballs around, so that they are browned evenly on all sides. Once nicely browned so they hold their shape, remove and place in a large baking dish. Repeat until you have browned all of them. Set the frying pan to the side and do not discard the drippings.
  4. Bake the meatballs at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes until cooked through.
  5. In the same frying pan that you browned the meatballs, heat 1- 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Grate the onion directly in the pan and lightly brown being carefully not to burn. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine to the pan and deglaze with the onion and meat drippings.
  6. In a large sauce pot (6 quarts), poor in the wine, onion and meat drippings. Add in the 2 large cans of tomato sauce and 6 small cans of tomato paste. Use the small paste cans to add in 24 oz of water. Add in the basil, oregano, baking soda, sugar, and the bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Carefully add the meatballs to the sauce and let the sauce simmer. Keep scraping down the sides and the bottom so it doesn’t burn. Simmer for at least 4 hours. Before serving, pull out the bay leaf.
  8. Serve over you favorite pasta!
The Pint Sized Homemaker http://pintsizedhomemaker.com/

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