My 100%-Irish grandmother made “spaghetti” for her family by adding browned hamburger meat to Campbell’s tomato soup and pouring it all over Mueller’s elbow macaroni.
When my uncle visited a friend after school one day, that child’s Italian-born grandmother introduced him to real spaghetti and meatballs. My grandmother wound up asking for the recipe, and it’s been passed down to each generation since then.
Makes about 48 meatballs
3 lb ground beef (I like ground round for this)
3 cups seasoned bread crumbs
seasonings as you like:
onion powder (or finely chopped onions if your kids don’t mind these!)
crushed red pepper (optional)–only a pinch of this
Combine all ingredients. Form into meatballs and bake on foil-lined pans at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. (The original recipe called for frying the meatballs, but I can’t be bothered with the mess!)
While meatballs are baking, make the SAUCE:
1 onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced (or more, to taste)
1 tbl olive oil
1 to 2 TBL red wine
2 cans crushed tomatoes (28 oz each)
2 cans tomato puree (28 oz each)
3 cans tomato paste (6 oz each)
For each can, 1/2 can of water
1 tsp sugar
crushed red pepper
1 bay leaf
kosher salt (just a little)
Heat olive oil in the bottom of your pot, then sauté the onions. When onions are softened but not brown, add garlic and seasonings (except bay leaf.) Once everything is fragrant, deglaze the pan with a little bit of red wine. Add remaining sauce ingredients.
Stir it all up and let it simmer at least 3 hours. More is better. Stir often. When meatballs are done, add them to sauce and let them cook along.
Tastes even better after freezing.
I like to cook my spaghetti sauce in my roaster oven. I set it at 250 until the sauce bubbles, then turn down to 200 and let it simmer all afternoon. Cleanup is way easier, especially since all the sauce stays in the pot and doesn’t bubble all over the stove! Pictured above is a 12-quart roaster full of sauce (using the same quantities given in this recipe.)
Because you can’t sauté in a roaster oven, I use a small skillet for that step, scraping the onions, spices and garlic into the roaster and then deglazing and adding that liquid to the sauce as well.
Nutrition Information for Sauce:
copyright 2014 Barb Szyszkiewicz