Meatballs and Sauce

Penne with red sauce and meatballs in a white bowl

Meatballs and sauce is a Sunday dinner all-star. It takes a bit of time, making it feel special, but it doesn’t get out of hand. You can wing it a little with the ingredients: sub in some other ground meat, use cheese, or don’t. Same for bread crumbs. Get  creative with herbs. Don’t sweat it, your meatballs are gonna taste great. After you make this once, you can easily pull it off without a recipe. And perhaps most importantly, pair it with a bite sized pasta like penne and it can be eaten in a bowl in front of the the TV, my favorite Sunday night pastime. (Have you ever watched Sunday night programming on HBO?) Here we go!

Let’s start with the sauce

tomato sauce ingredients

No need to reinvent the wheel on this one.  I always (always! always!) stick with Marcella Hazan’s much revered tomato sauce. It’s stupidly, shockingly easy and tastes out of this world. Don’t be scared of the butter! It makes it oh so rich and velvety.

While the sauce simmers away…

On to the meatballs!

how to make meatballs

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4 (at least!)
  • ½ lb ground beef
  • ½ lb ground pork
  • ½ cup pecorino romano (or parmesan)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp herbs minced (ex: rosemary, parsley, basil, oregano, all of the above)
  • (You can also include a cup of breadcrumbs if you're in a "gimme the gluten" kinda mood)
  1. Combine all the ingredients and mix well (get your hands in there!)
  2. Shape into 1 inch-ish balls.
  3. Heat a bit of oil in a large skillet/saute pan.
  4. In batches, add meatballs to pan (don't overcrowd it!) and fry until the bottom gets nice and brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. Flip 'em and cook on the other side for about 5 min.
  5. Rest meatballs on a paper towel lined plate to collect some of the oil.
  6. Transfer meatballs to the sauce and let simmer for 30 minutes or more.
Serve with your favorite pasta. Toss in some sauteed greens if you want to feel a little healthy.


(p.s. these would be great for dessert!)