Mom’s Tomato Sauce and Meatballs


This blog was born out of a Thursday night ritual between cousins.  The weekly meeting included a meal, a movie and a conversation about death.  One of those meals was my Aunt’s spaghetti and meat balls draped in a rich tomato sauce made with love by my cousin Shannon.   Although she makes it from memory, I’ll try and do it justice in print.



Shannon: “It’s not exact because a lot of it is to taste”.

1 lb chopped beef
1 egg
Italian style bread crumbs
olive oil
1 sweet onion – chopped
3 garlic cloves – chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1 bay leaf
2 (28 oz) cans Contadina tomato puree
1 (6 oz) can Contadina tomato paste



To make meatballs combine beef, egg, 1 clove garlic and 1/3 of the onion. Mix in a dash of salt and pepper, and a few teaspoons or more (depending on your preference) of oregano, basil, and parsley. Slowly mix in the breadcrumbs until everything sticks together and not to the mixing bowl.





Roll with hands to form meatballs and set aside.




In a large pot, simmer olive oil. Saute remaining onions until almost clear, then add garlic – stirring both so they do not burn but the garlic starts turning golden. Add 2 cans of puree. Fill one of the empty puree cans with water and slowly mix in. Mix in paste. Add 1 bay leaf. Mix in a dash of salt and pepper, and a few teaspoons or more (depending on your preference) of oregano, and basil. Add 1/4 cup of sugar.

sauce 11



Reduce heat to low and add all of the meatballs.   Cover with a lid and simmer for  5-6 hours stirring regularly.  (Most people won’t have the patience for this, but trust me, the meatballs cook slowly and the flavors blend nicely when left for hours).  Taste often and add additional salt, pepper, oregano, basil and sugar as needed.




At this point in the recipe Shannon recommends a time out.  This can take the form of opening a bottle of wine.  We enjoyed The Seven Deadly Zins and binge-watched Game of Thrones.


Aunt Judy’s tomato sauce and meatballs, delicious!  Family, food and film, what could be better?  Thank you Shannon!!




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