Marcella’s Meatballs & Tomato Sauce
- 1 slice white Italian bread
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 lb/454 g ground beef
- 1 tbsp onion, grated or finely chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp parmesan, grated
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Salt and pepper, about 1/4 tsp each
- Bread crumbs, unseasoned
- Vegetable, canola or grapeseed oil
Marcella’s Tomato Sauce
- 1 28 oz can good quality Italian tomatoes (whole or diced)
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp butter
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 tsp salt
- Pinch of white sugar
Prepared by Kimi Abdullah, co-Founder of Petojo Food & Catering Follow on her on Instagram @kimiabdullah & Tumblr @kimieats Find Petojo Food & Catering on Instagram and Facebook @petojofood For catering inquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 519 488 0316
Just like Marcella’s Tomato Sauce, this meatball recipe is simple but delicious. Browning the meatballs in hot oil will sear in their juices, but you can also bake the meatballs in a 400℉ oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Naturally, these are delicious in a tomato sauce and recommend simmering them in your sauce for 10 minutes before serving with spaghetti.
- Remove crust from bread. Place crustless bread with milk in a small saucepan and place over low heat. Once all the bread has soaked up the milk, mash with a fork. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Combine ground beef, onion, parsley, egg, olive oil, parmesan, nutmeg, milk-soaked bread mixture, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Mix and knead with your hands until well incorporated.
- Spread breadcrumbs into a plate or shallow pan. Form meat mixture into 1 – 1.5 oz balls – about 1” inch in size. Gently roll meatballs to light cover with breadcrumbs. Hold breadcrumbs on a baking sheet line with parchment until ready to cook.
- In a large heavy pan, heat vegetable oil – it should be about 1/4” deep in your pan. Once oil is hot, working in batches to avoid over crowding, place meatballs in the pan and brown on both sides. Remove to paper towel to soak any excess oil.
This might sound a little too good to be true, but you can make a “from scratch” tomato sauce in about an hour. This basic sauce can be used for meatball sandwiches or your favourite pasta. If I feel I must, I will add a bay leaf, a sprig of thyme, a pinch of red chilli flakes, or a teaspoon of Italian seasoning. I have two modifications I consistently make to Marcella Hazan’s recipe: first, I add a pinch of sugar to soften the acidity of the canned tomatoes, and second, I use a hand blender to create a smooth sauce.
- In a large sauce pot, add the canned tomatoes, butter, onion, and salt. Bring to a steady simmer and allow to cook for at least 45 minutes. The sauce with thicken, the onion is very soft, the tomato has broken down, and you may see fat separate from the tomato. Taste the
sauce and season with additional salt if needed. This is when you would remove the bay leaf or sprig of thyme. If there is a strong tang or acidity, give it a pinch of sugar and let it simmer for a few minutes. Once your sauce tastes to your liking, blitz with hand blender until smooth. Your sauce is now ready for whatever delicious dish you have planned!