Cloudy with a chance of meatballs


I have been debating whether to put this post or not, as it is sort of a secret family recipe, but I figure why not share the love? Hoepfully my mom won’t have me taken out for sharing it with my readers (love you mom!). We had friends staying with us for the holiday weekend so of course I had to cook some yummy treats for them, as I love to do. I made my mom’s famous spaghetti sauce and everyone cleaned their bowls. The secret to my mom’s sauce is simple, she doesn’t put a whole lot in it, the flavors speak for themselves. The other important part is that she uses a lot of meat in her sauce, which adds a big flavor. She puts meatballs, italian sausage, stew beef or steak tips (if you are an east coaster you know what these are, please mail me some tips from Market Basket!) and sometimes pepperoni too.

She uses 2 cans of crushed tomatoes and 1 can of whole tomatoes which I always got to break up with my hands as a kid, the best part for me of making the sauce. Any kind of tomatoes will do but San Marzano are the best (imported from Italy, found them here on the base) or Pastene tomatoes if you are back east. You also need one or two cans of tomato paste. You start by sauteing one small onion and some garlic in olive oil.

Then you cook the meat. To make my moms awesome meatballs you use a pound of ground beef, about 3/4 cup italian progresso breadcrumbs and one egg. You mix this all together until you can roll the balls together. I have tried adding a million different things to her meatballs and I always come back to this simple recipe (see photo about for some meatball love). I usually brown my meatballs on med-low heat first, take those out and then cook sausage and tips. Then I add the meatballs back in before adding the tomatoes. Pepperoni can be added at the end, whole pepperoni links that you slice yourself add the best flavor.

After the meat browns, add the tomatoes as well as the tomato paste and oregano, parsley and basil, S&P and also a few teaspoons of sugar to cut down on the acidity. I would say about a teaspoon of each spice but it is up to you. I like to use fresh basil if it is handy. Sometimes I add mushrooms to the sauce and sometimes I don’t. My mom says to let it cook for an hour or so, I had to do it a bit longer to get my stew beef to tenderize in my dutch oven the last time. Taste so you can adjust the spice. Sometimes I recruit taste testers in our house and they always love the job. Toss with your favorite pasta and manga! You can always freeze portions in tupperware so you can thaw for dinner another time, my mom does this and has at least 5-6 weeks of Thursday sauce night in her freezer from one batch of sauce.

To add to the yummy feast I also made a caprese salad using fresh basil, sliced mozzarella, and Campari tomatoes. What are Campari tomatoes you may ask? Well on the box it says “the tomato lovers tomato” and this couldn’t be more true. Campari tomatoes are sweet and have such an amazing flavor. These tomatoes are easily found anywhere, I always found them at stop and shop back east and find them here at most stores, even Wal-Mart. They are in a little plastic container and usually it comes with about 8 tomatoes or so. They look like vine ripened tomatoes but taste 10 times better. They cost about $4 but are well worth the splurge. The last treat we added to our feast was garlic bread made on fresh San Fran sourdough. So who’s coming over for dinner?

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One Response to “Cloudy with a chance of meatballs”

  1. amber Says:

    I can’t wait to try this! This looks soooo yummy!

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