Italian meatballs in homemade tomato sauce.

January 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

As promised, I’m sharing the next recipe in my meatball series:  Italian meatballs in homemade tomato sauce!

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These are the Castelli Family meatballs I shared last week, simmered in a red wine tomato sauce.  This is my Mom’s sauce recipe, inspired by the sauce her mother, my Nonna, used to make.  As a warning, it makes a lot: I had plenty to serve with meatballs and pasta for 6 people on New Year’s Day, plus leftovers that lasted a week, plus three small containers in the freezer for later.  I definitely recommend freezing the sauce in small containers (as opposed to one large container) that you can defrost and use as you need it — makes for some easy dinner nights!Image

With these cold temperatures, I find a large stockpot of this sauce simmering on the stove so comforting.  It doesn’t hurt that it smells divine, either.

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Italian Meatballs in Homemade Tomato Sauce

Recipe from Barbara Doyle (my mom!)

What you need:

  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp dried celery flakes
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 2 28-ounce cans of crushed tomatoes with herbs
  • 1 28-ounce can of chopped Italian tomatoes
  • 2 28-ounce cans of tomato sauce
  • 1 28-ounce can of tomato puree
  • 1 15-ounce can of tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • Cooked Italian meatballs

Note:  I used the Dei Fratelli brand of canned tomato products.  Hunts is a good alternative.

What to do:

Finely chop your celery and onion, and mince your garlic.

Heat a generous drizzle of olive oil (1-2 tablespoons) over medium heat.  Add the celery, onion, and garlic, and cook until the celery and onion are very soft or becoming translucent.  Then, add a teaspoon each of the crushed red pepper, dried celery flakes, italian seasoning, and dried parsley.  If you do not have Italian seasoning, add a blend of dried basil and oregano.  Mix in the spices well.

Now, add all of your canned tomatoes except the tomato paste.  To recap, that’s 2 cans crushed, 1 can chopped, 2 cans sauce, and 1 can of puree.  Stir well, then bring the mixture to a low boil.  Once the mixture is boiling, add the can of tomato paste.  Stir well.

Add 3/4 cup of red wine–this can be a drinking wine or a cooking wine.  Then add your cooked meatballs and let the sauce and meatballs simmer for 1 hour, at least.  The more time you allot for the meatballs to simmer before serving, the more tender they will be, and the more infused with the flavor of the sauce.

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This sauce can be used in an accompanying baked pasta dish, such as stuffed shells or manicotti.  It is also delicious over spaghetti.Image

As my Nonna used to say:  Mangia, mangia!

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